Facebook Stock Forecast: Is FB a Buy?

Written by Sean GraytokUpdated: 8th May 2022
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This Facebook stock forecast & analysis will help you decide if FB shares belong in your portfolio following the Meta rebrand.

Facebook Stock Forecast: Background

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates started Facebook in their Harvard dorm room.

Seventeen years later, its market cap is over half a trillion dollars. 

Facebook is a member of the FAAMG stocksfamily, which refers to the distinguished high-growth technology companies that lead the market: Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), and Google (GOOG) parent Alphabet.

Facebook monetizes its nearly 3+ billion users across its main platform, Instagram, and WhatsApp by selling ads to marketers.

Facebook Stock Forecast: Investment Potential 

#1. Digital Advertising

Companies looking to advertise online pretty much have two options: Facebook and Google.

Facebook and Google are the best digital advertisers because they control the world’s data.

Facebook’s access to data allows it to advertise better by delivering personalized ads, which increases engagement with the product or service it’s promoting, resulting in more profits for Facebook.

Facebook algorithms create advertising profiles based on user behavior – the more time users spend on Facebook platforms (or platforms that share data with Facebook), the more accurate the advertising profiles become.

Optimizing ads is the key component to the business; Facebook recorded $84.2 billion in advertising revenue in FY 2020, which accounted for 98% of its total revenue.

Facebook expects a massive uptick in revenue for 2021 as the economy reopens and businesses resume their advertising campaigns.

#2. Instagram Financials

Facebook does not disclose Instagram’s financial data, following in the footsteps of Amazon and Google, who chose to keep AWS and YouTube numbers private for many years.

When Amazon revealed AWS’s financial data in 2015, shares surged 59% in the next year while the S&P 500 was down 1%.

This past year, Google decided it was time to pull back the curtain on YouTube. Google shares have jumped 40% since doing so, compared to 24% for the S&P 500.

So, will the “Instagram Reveal” send FB shares soaring? Estimates from Baird analyst Colin Sebastian suggest it will.

He estimates that Instagram accounts for ~30% of Facebook sales, which would total $25 billion last year. Its revenue has grown at an 80% annual rate since 2017.

Max Cherney of Barron’s Magazine believes this is a crucial ingredient that investors have not priced into the stock yet.

#3. E-Commerce

Facebook is jumping on the shift from offline to online commerce to diversify its revenue streams beyond advertising.

In just one year after launching, Facebook has more than a million active shops that 250+ million people interact with each month.

Deutsche Bank estimates that Facebook and Instagram Shops could add up to $12 billion in sales by 2023.

This is the perfect example of Facebook identifying trends and capitalizing on them by adding features to its platforms, which almost certainly have more users than its competition.

#4. Virtual Reality and the Next Leap in Computing

Mark Zuckerberg believes that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is the next generational leap in computing – just like the change from PCs to mobile devices.

If he’s right, Facebook could evolve into an entirely different company.

In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2.2 billion, which began Facebook’s journey to becoming more than an app.

The company has built its own operating system through Oculus, allowing Facebook to completely redesign the way humans interact with apps.

Zuckerberg has expressed his frustrations with the way current operating systems restrict functionality and work opposite of human nature.

Facebook is taking its time to execute on these plans, but it’s made significant progress thus far.

The $299 cordless Quest 2 is looking to become the first mainstream VR headset, and the company has partnered with the maker of Oakley and Ray-Ban to launch its first AR product later this year.

Facebook began merging the physical and digital worlds back in 2004 — who is more fitting to blend them entirely and build the virtual worlds of the future?

#5. Spinoff Potential

Some fear that Facebook’s investment potential is limited by regulatory scrutiny, but others argue the exact opposite: breaking up Facebook could unlock value for FB shareholders.

Spinning off Instagram and WhatApps into their own companies is an opportunity for enormous value creation. Existing Facebook investors would be rewarded just like eBay shareholders were in the PayPal spinoff.

However, breaking up Facebook is unlikely, and the company has strived to make it untenable by weaving threads between Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Unifying them both technically and financially hurts regulators’ case to break them up because it would be too detrimental to the main platform.

It’s important to distinguish the kinds of regulation Facebook might face. The impacts of antitrust allegations and changes to Section 230 are fundamentally different.

Facebook Stock Forecast: Company Moat

Facebook’s strategy is to grow a massive user base for a specific product and then turn on the advertising switch.

What other company can launch a new product, feature, or service and instantly get it in front of 3 billion people?

It has done this with messaging and commerce, for example, and will execute on VR, AR, and wearables next.

Plus, the company has no shame in copying the competition – it can just add the new, desirable feature from “disruptors” to its existing Facebook or Instagram platforms. For example:

  • Videos on Instagram from Vine
  • Instagram Stories from Snapchat Stories
  • Instagram Reels from TikTok
  • Video Conferencing from Zoom 
  • Facebook & IG Shops from Shopify
  • Live audio from Clubhouse

Facebook’s ability to deploy any offering allows it to pivot into the “next big thing” seamlessly.

Additionally, Facebook has artificial intelligence capabilities that only the best FAAMG stocks can scale. 

Bonus Moat: The Facebook Phenomenon

Facebook’s advantage is that its flagship offering is user-generated content, which is “free” from a monetary perspective.

The users create the product while simultaneously being the product.

This phenomenon results in less friction when it comes to customer acquisition.

Most people are willing to sacrifice their privacy or data if they believe they’re receiving something of great value in exchange.

However, few realize the value of one’s data, except for Facebook, which raked in $86 billion last year.

Facebook Stock Forecast: Q4 Earnings

Facebook reported Q4’21 earnings on February 2, 2022, and it was quite the event. Here are the numbers:

  • Earnings: $3.67 vs $3.84 expected
  • Revenue: $33.67 billion vs $33.4 billion
  • Daily active users: 1.93 billion vs 1.95 billion expected
  • Monthly active users: 2.91 billion vs 2.95 billion
  • Average revenue per user: $11.57 vs $11.38 expected

Not only did Facebook miss on earnings and user numbers, but its forward guidance for the upcoming quarter disappointed analysts.

Shares fell more than 20% following the call. 

Facebook Stock Forecast: Risks

Facebook has received the most fines in Silicon Valley’s history – in 2019, it was fined $5 billion for violating privacy and security laws, which was one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the U.S. government for any violation.

For most, Mark Zuckerberg is the first to come to mind when hearing “Big Tech” and “regulation” or “censorship”.

Ironically, the features that make Facebook an effective platform are the same aspects that make people call for regulation.

This is the result of unintended consequences from innovation, like live video streaming and frictionless sharing of information that may or may not be accurate.

Remember, there are thousands of Facebook employees whose only job is to make you keep scrolling.

More often than not, the most engaging content is controversial and negative, which the algorithm spreads because it means more screen time (which means more advertisers).

This has gotten Facebook into hot water – politicians on both sides of the aisle want to change or repeal Section 230, which is a law that provides liability protection for websites and platforms (like Facebook) that host user-generated content and allows sites to monitor that content.

Changes to Section 230 would be detrimental to Facebook’s business model; if Facebook is responsible for its platform’s content, it may be less inclined to share the most engaging content.

While this may be positive for the users’ long-term health, the updated user experience will suffer in the short term as the algorithm delivers less hits of dopamine.

Users might consider spending more time on other platforms, and the advertising dollars will follow them.

Facebook Stock Forecast: Top Competitors

Big Tech relationships are complex – they’re pals in one market and enemies in another.

These companies closely monitor each other. If you see a new product launch from one, expect the others to follow shortly. Here are Facebook’s top competitors by market:

Digital Advertising

  • Google (GOOG)
  • Amazon (AMZN)
  • Apple (AAPL)
  • Microsoft (MSFT)

Social Platforms

  • Snapchat (SNAP)
  • TikTok
  • Twitter (TWTR)
  • YouTube (GOOG)
  • LinkedIn (MSFT)
  • Pinterest (PINS)
  • Roblox (RBLX)

E-Commerce

  • Shopify (SHOP)
  • Amazon (AMZN)
  • Alibaba (BABA)
  • JD.com (JD)
  • MercadoLibre (MELI)

Messaging

  • WeChat (TCEHY)
  • Apple (AAPL)

VR and AR

  • Sony (SNE)
  • Microsoft (MSFT)
  • Alphabet (GOOG)
  • Apple (AAPL)
  • Qualcomm (QCOM)
  • Nvidia (NVDA)
  • Snap (SNAP)

Today’s digital economy is driven by attention, so Facebook competes with any company that harvests an individual’s attention, such as Netflix and Peloton.

While Facebook has no shortage of competition amongst Fortune 500 companies, regulation from DC (and beyond) is its only real threat.

Facebook Stock Allocation in Your Portfolio

The right amount of Facebook stock in your portfolio depends on a variety of personal factors.

However, the following questions might help you measure your conviction in the investment potential of FB stock.

  • Will changes to Section 230 be too destructive to FB’s business model?
  • Can a new social platform replace Facebook, like it did to Myspace and Friendster?
  • Will Facebook execute on VR and AR?
  • Is there more upside in other FAAMG names or younger tech companies?
  • Is the Invesco QQQ ETFor ARKK a safer allocation to capture tech’s upside?
  • Will the “Instagram Reveal” be similar to that of AWS and YouTube?
  • Can Facebook successfully diversify revenue beyond advertising? Does it have to?

Facebook Stock Forecast: FAQs

Will Facebook hit $1000 a share?

Facebook is currently trading at all-time highs around $311 per share.

While its advertising business prints dollars, we believe Facebook needs to capitalize on its ambitious projects, like VR, AR, and social commerce, to hit $1000 a share.

Why is Facebook stock dropping?

Facebook stock is dropping because it announced disappointing guidance for the upcoming quarter. Shares fell as much as 20% following the company’s recent earnings report. 

Is it smart to buy Facebook stock?

Facebook is the second largest digital advertiser in the world, behind Google.

It is smart to buy Facebook stock if you believe the company can continue to offer engaging products and services to its user base of 3 billion people.

Will Facebook ever pay a dividend?

While it’s uncommon for tech companies to pay a dividend, Facebook is in a unique position to do so – the company is sitting on a pile of cash while walking on eggshells with regulators.

This makes them cautious when it comes to using that cash for acquisitions. Facebook would open itself up to a new wave of institutional investors if it were to pay a dividend. In the meantime, it will continue to do stock buybacks.

Facebook Stock Analysis: Fast Facts

#1. Largest IPO at the time

Facebook was set to go public in 2012 at a $104 billion valuation, making it the largest IPO to date in U.S. history.

The day before the IPO, Facebook announced it would sell 25% more shares to accommodate demand. The IPO raised $16 and was the third-largest in history, behind General Motors (GM) and Visa (V). Keep an eye on Stripe blowing this IPO out of the water. 

#2. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss sued Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he stole their idea

The Winklevoss Twins claim that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social platform while students at Harvard. Zuckerberg settled with Cameron and Tyler for $65 million.

The twins used this money to invest in bitcoin and start Gemini, which is now one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. Cameron and Tyler became the first well-known bitcoin billionaires.

#3. The Social Network is considered one of the best movies from the 2010s

The Social Network is a 2010 biographical drama about the founding of Facebook. It was directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin.

The Social Network won several awards and ranked second on Rolling Stone’s end-of-the-decade list, behind Moonlight.

Bottom Line: Facebook Stock Forecast

Facebook stock has risen substantially since its IPO price of $38, but there’s still room for it to run.

Zuckerberg will continue to reinvent Facebook into more than a social media company. 

This article is for informational purposes only, and it is not intended to be investment advice. Read our editorialguidelines and public equities research methodology to learn more about how we researched Facebook (FB) stock.

Sean Graytok
Sean Graytok

Sean Graytok is our Co-Founder and is a recognized expert in investing, cryptocurrency, and financial management. His work has been cited in leading industry publications, such as InvestorsPlace and Business Insider. Sean is interested in the people and companies who are driving financial innovation.