7,732 $m
Facebook is the biggest riser in this year’s Best Global Brands report. In spite of the optimism following its 2012 IPO, the brand experienced a tumultuous year with falling stock prices and critics scrutinizing its business model. However, after a 53 percent revenue bump in Q2 2013 far exceeded expectations, its stock price rallied more than 30 percent. While fear of decreased engagement and questions over its ad model concerned analysts, they are now shifting their view in light of its recent success in mobile, with users increasing 51 percent in Q2 2013 and mobile ad revenue rising. CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the Q2 earnings call to discuss an ambitious long-term plan. With more than one billion users, following steady growth of 45-50 million new users every quarter since Q3 2011, it plans to connect an additional five billion users worldwide. Facebook also named its first CMO, hiring Gary Briggs from Google. The acquisition of Instagram, the incorporation of hashtags, and the launch of Graph Search demonstrate its commitment to dominating social media. High expectations present their own challenges, however, with poor adoption of its Home app and the disappointing launch of its first smartphone, HTC First. A backlash in December 2012 against Instagram’s terms of service shows the fine line the brand walks with respect to privacy. Ultimately, the success of Facebook depends on balancing users’ expectations of privacy and utility with the ad-driven lure of exploiting user data.