"Over the past year, advertisers leveraging Stories have increased budgets dedicated to the format at 124%," wrote Nanigans, one of Facebook's primary marketing partners, in a report obtained by analysts at Deutsche Bank. CPMs, or cost per impressions, for Stories grew 112%, while CPCs, or cost per click, grew 39%. Click-through rates on Stories ads have increased 52% year-over-year, while return on ad spend has also increased, according to the report.
"Make no mistake, News Feed (non-Stories) ads are still king, with a vast majority of ad spend among Nanigans customers going to these ads," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote. But "the Stories format is quickly emerging as an ad placement that can perform in the same league as other ad units within the Facebook ecosystem." Deutsche Bank has an unchanged $195 price target on Facebook, 35% above the stock's current level.
The ad load on Facebook Stories could increase as well. One of the core catalysts to BMO Capital Markets' $163 price target on Facebook is the "expansion of ad load in Stories (Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger) and WhatsApp Status," analysts at BMO wrote in a note out Sunday evening. BMO noted that Instagram Stories ads launched in January 2017, Facebook Stories ads began in Sept. 2018, WhatsApp Status ads are expected to launch in 2019 and Messenger Stories ads are reportedly coming soon.
JPMorgan analysts also cited the Nanigans report in issuing a recent bullish $195 price target on the stock. The analysts added that that "we do not believe [Stories] are cannibalizing revenue within the core FB platform."
Facebook shares were falling 1.12% to $147.32 a share Monday morning and are down 22% over the past year. The company reports fourth-quarter earnings after the close on Wednesday.
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