Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Facebook Turns 12, Eyes 5 Billion Users by 2030

By Andrew Tonner - Feb 10, 2016 at 7:41PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Facebook just disclosed perhaps its most audacious growth target ever.

Source: Facebook.

As anniversaries go, Facebook (META 2.03%) and CEO Mark Zuckerberg know how to celebrate in style.

The social media giant's soaring profits have translated to a surging share price, and the timing couldn't have been more fitting. Only one day before its 12th birthday -- the website launched Feb. 4, 2004 -- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg saw his personal net worth soar to $50 billion thanks to the rising value of his Facebook stock, good for fourth on the list of richest people in the world. That's roughly $1.6 billion earned for every year he's been alive.

However, Facebook and its founder aren't resting on their laurels, as its long-term plans prove.

Still hungry after all these years
According to USA TODAY, Facebook's core management team has elaborated on its long-term growth plans, including an internal target to reach a jaw-dropping 5 billion registered users by 2030. In its recent earnings report, Facebook reported having 1.6 billion monthly active users.

Getting its registered user number to 5 billion will be no easy feat. The United Nations' International Telecommunications Union estimated that the number of people worldwide with Internet access climbed passed 3.2 billion in 2015, so getting to 5 billion users will not only require Facebook to claim every Internet user worldwide but also to also develop pathways to connect the rest of the world. To do so, Facebook plans to deploy a number of pioneering techniques to expand Internet connectivity to the far reaches of the globe. It also plans to deepen its partnerships with governments and other companies.

Internet-beaming drone. Image source: Facebook's Internet.org.

Investing in the future
I think it's best to avoid specific financial analysis in dealing with any multidecade initiative. At the same time, though, that doesn't mean the news of Facebook's next great growth plan doesn't contain insights for investors.

For starters, expanding its core service by such a massive degree would lead to huge financial rewards for Facebook and its investors, though any more concrete financial analysis probably falls on its face. I also think this  demonstrates a unique visionary trait that demonstrates why Facebook is a company likely to stand the test of time.

Few companies are able to both conceive of and execute on these kinds of sweeping objectives, but the ones that do tend to produce compelling returns for their shareholders. If you find a company that can do so more than once, that's the hallmark of a multibagger investment. Amazon.com scaled e-commerce to heights few probably thought possible in the late 1990s -- one-hour delivery? -- but it also helped usher in the dawn of cloud computing. Alphabet created the first great search engine and then pivoted to become the world's largest operating-system provider by number of connected devices. Apple helped commercialize PCs, digital music players, smartphones, and tablets. For Facebook, its plans to multiply its social network to previously unimagined levels, plus its booming communications and virtual-reality businesses, place it squarely in this elite company.

The unifying theme here is that, without even considering the specific business models at work, the companies that have had the vision and ability to create and scale numerous businesses tend to also produce equally impressive returns for their shareholders. Sure, we're dealing in part with anecdotes, but as it looks to continue to push the boundaries of technology and connectedness, Facebook has shown again why it's a special company poised to thrive for years to come.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
META
$163.94 (2.03%) $3.26
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$2,234.03 (-0.27%) $-6.12
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$139.23 (1.30%) $1.79
Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$108.92 (1.42%) $1.52
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOG
$2,245.13 (-0.28%) $-6.30

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
319%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/29/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.