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Will 2016 Be Facebook, Inc.'s Best Year Yet?
Will 2016 Be Facebook, Inc.'s Best Year Yet?

Last year was huge for Facebook. Can it turn in a repeat performance in 2016?

As Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) marks the end of another banner year, investors would do well to ask whether the company can continue its winning ways in 2016.

After its post-IPO headache, Facebook shares have enjoyed a largely unimpeded upward march during the past two-and-a-half years. Facebook stock has appreciated nearly 180% since its 2012 public debut.

However, all winning streaks must eventually come to an end. As such, let's quickly review how investors today should view Facebook shares now that 2016 is off and running.

Facebook's business outlook: Bullish
It's hard not to get excited about what 2016 might hold for Facebook, especially considering the impressive progress the social network has made in expanding its core business, as well as acquiring leading, complementary growth businesses. After growing revenue from $1.9 billion in 2010 to $12.4 billion in 2014, Facebook has emerged as the most dominant online advertising business this side of Alphabet's Google. Thanks to its treasure trove of actionable user data (professions, interests, locations, etc.), Facebook can match users with advertisers at a specificity and scale that only Google's intent-driven search ads can roughly equal.

What's more, Facebook's introduction of key product innovations -- like its revamped mobile app, third-party apps, Timeline, Instant Articles, and perhaps even online shopping, to name a few -- have all helped increase the amount of time users spend on Facebook's platform, and by extension, the number of advertisements it can show to users. Contrast this to Facebook's core social-media rival Twitter, whose dearth of product innovation has lead to its ongoing business struggles, and Facebook's truly exceptional execution becomes readily apparent.
Fb F Logo

Source: Facebook

Looking to the new year, there's also plenty of reason for optimism. Beyond the expectation of continued growth and innovation in Facebook's core product, Facebook's three major subsidiaries each offer plenty of reason for investor optimism. Instagram continues to aggressively acquire users, and the continued scaling of its own ad business has been heralded as a multi-billion dollar opportunity by the analyst community. Facebook Messanger and WhatsApp both continue to emerge as key communications platforms that carry their own sizable monetization potential. Even Oculus VR, Facebook's $2 billion virtual-reality acquisition, carries massive long-term financial potential.

Factor in other long-term growth initiatives, like Facebook's, or likely eventual transition into search, and it's hard not to remain bullish on Facebook's continued success as a company in 2016. Importantly, though, this is only one end of the Facebook investment thesis.

Posted on: 2016/1/4 17:05
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