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Wait a Minute! Did Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Really Say Anything New?


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was extremely bullish on the company's mobile products at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference.


You talk the talk. Do you walk the walk?
-- Animal Mother, Full Metal Jacket

I'll get right to the point.

Facebook (FB) had better report a HUGE quarter.


Well, at yesterday's TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Mark Zuckerberg gave a very, very bullish outlook on the company's future in mobile, and that's got the bulls hot-blooded today. Hot enough, in fact, to send Facebook over $20 for the first time since August 20.

This is the statement that laid down the gauntlet:

So mobile is, there are going to be more users, each user's going to use spend more time, and per amount of time that they spend, we're going to make more money than we make on desktop.

There is no doubt that Facebook is seeing renewed momentum in mobile, particularly with the recent release of its new Apple (AAPL) iOS app, which as anyone who has used it knows, is light years ahead of the garbage that was its predecessor. Facebook should also benefit from direct integration into iOS, something that will likely be featured at Apple's iPhone 5 unveiling later today.

Likewise, Facebook will one day release an equivalent new-and-approved app for Google (GOOG) Android.

But here's the thing: Zuckerberg didn't really say anything new! He was maybe a little more aggressive in pushing the monetization advantages of mobile over desktop. But beyond that, it was the same old stuff, and he wasn't necessarily saying that mobile would pay off this quarter.

Here's a quote from the company's earnings call on July 26:

Mobile is a huge opportunity for Facebook. Our goal is to connect everyone in the world. And over the next five years, we expect 4 billion to 5 billion people to have smartphones. That's more than twice as many people that have computers today. So building great services for these devices is essential for us to help people connect. We also think that people are inherently social, and having a device with you wherever you are creates more opportunities for sharing and connecting.

We're finding that people are quickly adopting our mobile services. As of the end of June, 543 million people were actively using our mobile services every month, each month. That's 67% more people than the 325 million who were using our mobile services just a year ago. We've also found that people who use our mobile services are more active Facebook users than people who only use our desktop services. On average, mobile users are around 20% more likely to use Facebook on any given day.

And while at the TechCrunch conference, Zuckerberg actually went so far as to say that mobile ads are performing better than traditional desktop ads, he did touch on monetization on the earnings call:

By the end of June, Sponsored Stories in News Feed was at a run rate of over $1 million per day in revenue and about half of that is coming from mobile. This is an encouraging start in our effort to generate revenue from the mobile use of Facebook.

Here's one more quote from the earnings call for good measure:

As measured by click-through rates, Sponsored Stories in News Feed perform multiple times better on both desktop and mobile than ads in the right-hand column.

Therefore, I think it's clear that Zuckerberg didn't really offer anything new on the mobile front. Yes, he was very bullish on monetization, but what if it doesn't come in the third quarter?
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