Digital Marketing Insights in Facebook’s Q1 2021 Results

Facebook released its Q1 2021 results last week. As always, the report contained nuggets of insightful information for digital marketing agencies and their clients.

“We had a strong quarter as we helped people stay connected and businesses grow,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the report. “We will continue to invest aggressively to deliver new and meaningful experiences for years to come, including in newer areas like augmented and virtual reality, commerce, and the creator economy.”

To call Q1 2021 “strong” is a bit of an understatement, at least from an earnings perspective.  Revenue was up 146 per cent, year-over-year, driven by a 30 per cent increase in average ad prices and a 12 per cent increase in ads delivered. Some of those YOY increases are due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and the rest are due to the fact that digital marketing platforms appear to have profited greatly from worldwide lockdowns and the global shift to working and attending school from home.

However, the news wasn’t all good for Facebook. Daily active users increased only 8 per cent year-over-year, and the launch of Apple’s latest, privacy-focused iOS could generate headwinds. Lauren Clawson, social media team lead at Portent, told Search Engine Land that cost-per-click and cost-per-purchase on Facebook are already up since the company implemented a new tool to measure iOS conversions.

“In addition to a decrease in overall metrics, some SMMs have been reporting a decline in the performance of lookalike audiences, which are typically our top performers,” she said.

From a digital marketing perspective, the takeaways from Facebook’s report are as follows: that year-over-year reporting metrics will be skewed in Q1 and Q2 of this year, at least; that Facebook may finally be reaching a plateau in user growth; and that privacy initiatives are proving to affect ad performance.


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