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商业 - 科技

正确理解Facebook收入暴涨:卖广告依然能赚大钱

Adam Lashinsky 2015年02月03日

听社交网站Facebook的高管谈该公司广告业务实在让人昏昏欲睡,但该业务的增长确实势如破竹。Facebook目前近70%的收入来自移动设备端,而就在短短几年前,移动端收入几乎为零。

    Facebook首席执行官马克•扎克伯格

    社交网站Facebook有两张面孔:一张是时髦且富有远见、志在改变世界的创新者;另一张则是单调乏味技术专家式加埋头苦干的赚钱机器。

    我们先来看看Facebook的后一张面孔。上周三,该公司公布了全年营收,不论以何种标准来衡量,其业绩都相当不错。2014年,Facebook的营收增长58%,达到125亿美元,主要来自移动端广告销售。Facebook2014年净利润将近30亿美元。截至去年12月,每天有近9亿人使用Facebook。

    除非你对复杂难懂的广告技术非常感兴趣,否则,Facebook的盈利模式听起来相当无趣。听人讨论其财务业绩,简直好比在泥地里强行推进,令人痛苦不堪,耳边充斥着各种术语:有机曝光次数、广告投放率递增速度、右侧栏,凡此种种,不一而足。谈到Facebook希望成为软件开发者很好的合作伙伴,公司创始人兼首席执行官马克•扎克伯格称,Facebook正努力建设“跨平台平台”。Facebook首席运营官谢丽尔•桑德伯格插话道:“我们的最终目标,是成为客户的关键商业伙伴。”

    这种话或许令人大打哈欠,但却富有感染力。Facebook目前近70%的收入来自移动设备端,而就在短短几年前,移动端收入几乎为零。相较于其高速增长,Facebook台式电脑端广告营收的增速仅1%,不由得令人震惊。值得一提的是,就在不久前,Facebook几乎全部收入都来自电脑端广告。Facebook当前资产负债表上的现金规模几乎可媲美其2014全年营收:截至2014年底,该公司坐拥112亿美元现金。

    等等,除了高效的移动广告单元外,Facebook不是还有个要使世界变得更安全的愿景吗?

    没错,扎克伯格做了件在投资者收益电话会议上极为罕见的事:他分享了Facebook的三年、五年以及十年愿景。其三年愿景包括,为人们以及(最重要的是)企业提供更好的服务,同时使Facebook的“社区”不断发展。五年计划是使WhatsApp和Messenger两款应用分别实现商业化。十年计划则包括:使全球所有人都能连上互联网(通过扎克伯格的Internet.org项目),并使他们进入Facebook收购的Oculus VR创造的虚拟现实世界。

    这样的愿景,只有拥有海量用户、日进斗金的公司才敢有。

    收益电话会议接近尾声时,有一位投资者问扎克伯格,斥巨资帮助那些不能给Facebook带来足够收入的客户接入互联网,以至于收不回本,这样做是否合理?该分析师问道,这同投资者有什么关系?扎克伯格的回答,很好地概括了他对Facebook的想法。他说道:“对于我们想要吸引的投资者来说,这一点很重要,因为我们是一家专注于使命的企业。你提的问题的潜台词是,如果我们只关心赚钱,我们会专注于在美国卖出更多广告。但我们并不仅关心赚钱。”

    不过,Facebook肯定有琢磨赚钱的事。确实,当你大赚特赚时,你可以想些有创意的方式来赚更多的钱,哪怕回报要很久以后才能看到。(财富中文网)

    译者:Hunter

    审稿:Sissi

    Facebook is really two companies for the price of one: A really nifty, visionary, we’re-going-to-change-the-world innovator and a mind-numbingly technocratic/grind-it-out money-making machine.

    Let’s take the second first. The company reported full-year earnings Wednesday, and by any measure Facebook is an impressive business. Largely by selling ads that run on cell phones, Facebook’s 2014 revenue increased 58% to $12.5 billion. The company earned almost $3 billion. Nearly 900 million people used Facebook daily during December.

    Unless your exceedingly interested in the intricacies of advertising technology, there’s almost nothing interesting about how Facebook makes money. Listening to a discussion of its financial results is a forced march through the muddy fields of organic impressions, increasing velocity of advertising efficiency, right-hand rails, and the like. In discussing Facebook’s desire to be a good partner to software developers, Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to the company’s efforts at building a “cross-platform platform.” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, piped in that “our ultimate goal is to be the critical business partner to our clients.”

    Yawn-inducing, perhaps, but powerful too. Facebook now gets nearly 70% of its revenue from mobile devices, up from nothing a few short years ago. Considering its rapid growth, it is astounding that revenue from ads that run on desktop computers re only growing at a 1% clip for Facebook. It’s worth repeating: Not very long ago desktop ads were all that Facebook had. Facebook also has a balance sheet nearly as big as its 2014 revenues: It ended the year with $11.2 billion in cash.

    But wait, wasn’t there something about a vision and making the world safe for something other than efficient mobile ad units?

    Indeed. Zuckerberg did something unique for an investor earnings call: He shared a three-, five-, and 10-year vision for his company. The three-year vision includes creating better services for people and, critically, businesses while growing Facebook’s “community.” The five-year plan envisions making businesses of WhatsApp and Messenger, an acquisition and a separate messaging app, respectively. The 10-year plan involves Zuckerberg’s goal of helping every person in the world obtain an Internet connection (through his Internet.org project) and then plopping them down into a virtual-reality world stemming from Facebook’s Oculus VR purchase.

    It’s the kind of stuff that only a company that’s printing money from its gigantic audience can afford to think about.

    Toward the end of the earnings call an investor asked Zuckerberg if it made sense to spending so much money to provide Internet connections to customers who wouldn’t generate sufficient revenue for Facebook to recoup the investment. Why, the analyst asked, does this matter to investors? Zuckerberg’s response neatly summed up his thinking about Facebook. “It matters to the kind of investors that we want to have because we’re a mission-focused company,” Zuckerberg said. “Part of the sub-text of your question is that if we were only focused on making money we’d simply focus on selling more ads in the U.S. But that’s not the only thing we think about here.”

    At Facebook FB 0.61% , they certainly think about making money. Indeed, when you make so much of it you also can think about creative ways to make even more, even if the payout is way off into the future.

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