Facebook survives Q4 despite slowest daily user growth ever

Despite worries about Russia and that passive News Feed scrolling hurts us, Facebook beat expectations again in its Q4 2017 earnings report. Facebook now has 1.4 billion daily users, up 2.18% compared to growing 3.8% to 1.37 billion users in Q3. That’s a sizeable slow down, and the lowest quarter-over-quarter percentage daily user growth ever reported by the company.

That could be because CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook made changes including showing fewer viral videos “that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day.” That equates to 2.14 minutes per daily user per day, or 5% of total time spent on Facebook. The viral video changes triggered Facebook’s first-ever decline in daily active users in the US & Canada region, which saw a 700,000 user decline.

Facebook reached $12.97 billion in revenue with $2.21 adjusted GAAP earnings per share if you don’t count a massive tax it had to pay on overseas cash that translated into a $0.77 reduction in EPS. Without that tax, it beat Wall Street’s estimates of $12.55 billion in revenue and $1.95 EPS, but with it reported $1.44 EPS.

Facebook’s monthly user count is now at 2.13 billion, up 3.39% from 2.06 billion in Q3 compared to 3.19% growth that quarter, so the monthly user growth sped up even as daily user growth slowed. Yet Facebook’s stickiness, or the percentage of monthly users that come back daily, held strong at 66% where it’s been since 2015. That shows people are still avidly returning to the site even if they spend less time there.

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