Friday, May 18, 2012

IPO: The Real Value of Facebook

With a large stage set up outdoors this morning in Menlo Park’s “Hacker Square,” in place of visiting the New York exchange, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook along with hundreds of employees and supporters gathered to ring the Nasdaq’s opening bell ahead of the network’s long-awaited IPO.

To back up a bit, (and dust off our knowledge of stock market lingo 101) an IPO, initial public offering, is basically a stock market launch. It is the first sale of stock by a company to the public and can be used by companies small or large to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises.

But why would this recent IPO news be important, or even relevant to PR practitioners? We will still post content the same way now as we did before when Facebook was private. But as communicators, marketers and PR pros creating a voice for our clients, it is our responsibility to be aware of the changes of our mediums, however large or small the changes may be.

We already know Facebook certainly has a lot going for it with 845 million users, high engagement, growing revenue and strong developments such as the recent acquisition of the popular photo sharing application, Instagram. But the recent IPO changes in the future may not be so obvious.

Ragan’s PR Daily lists a few factors on how the recent IPO changes can affect the role it plays on PR for clients. You can view the article here. The writer, Kevin Allen, discuss questions such as, with more pressure on the company, will users have to pay for posts in the future? What will pages look like in the future? Will the role of advertising on Facebook become even more prevalent?

According to MoneyWatch, Facebook is priced at $38 per share but expected to zoom higher in the early stages. This offering price also means the company is valued at $104 billion. Even the opening sticker price makes Facebook the biggest-ever valuation by an American company at the time of its offering and the second-largest U.S. IPO ever behind Visa. For a fun look at how Facebook has changed all we do online in the past eight years, check out this Fast Company article.

How do you think the recent IPO will change how Facebook operates? What will it mean for PR pros and how we brand our clients?

This post was contributed by Lauren Venegas.


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