Sheryl Sandberg: Teens not abandoning Facebook

Facebook's No. 2 exec also addresses lukewarm reaction to Home, saying the company is on a path to make it more stable: "You love it or you don't. It's bimodal."

Dan Farber
2 min read
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg at D11. ATD

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg isn't overly concerned that teenagers will abandon the giant social network, as a Pew study reported. "We're the leaders in a growing market," she said during an onstage interview at the D: All Things Digital conference here. She acknowledged, though, that teens are using sites such as Tumblr and Twitter more. "We are watching that very carefully," she said.

Sandberg also noted that social networking and other Internet activities still trail TV in terms of time spent. Users on average watch 34 hours of TV a week, compared with 6 hours per week on Facebook. "There is room for people to do different things. All other services continue to grow and we do. We don't think it's a zero-sum game," she said.

Sandberg also addressed the lukewarm reception to Facebook Home, essentially a family of apps wrapped up in a custom user interface that the company announced in April. She described it as "V 1," or version one, of building the phone around people rather than activities and apps. She added that the company was committed to monthly updates of Home to get it right. "I believe we are on a path to make it more stable," she said. "You love it or you don't. It's bimodal. The reviews are 5 stars or 1 star. Heavy Facebook users with Home use the service 25 percent more and send 10 percent more messages than those with the new service. But even the people who don't like it, like the core features we launched, like chat heads."

Sandberg also talked about Facebook's progress as a business, saying the company is "really pleased" with its momentum. "We get one in seven minutes [of Internet usage] on the desktop and one in five on mobile," he said. "We have people walking around with mobile devices. It's very social, and we have an opportunity." What's more, Sandberg added, Facebook's size and data collection allow it to deliver both a mass media and targeted advertising approach for clients.

"We have Super Bowl every day on the desktop and increasingly on mobile," she said, pointing to a Samsung ad campaign on Facebook that reached 105 million people with a 13 times return on the investment. "If you want to reach the 12 million people who will buy a car in the U.S. this year, we can find them," she said.

Sandberg also was asked about Waze, the crowdsourcing mapping service that Facebook has been rumored to be stalking. Recent reports suggested that the companies had reached an impasse, leading to the collapse of their merger talks. "I never answer M&A questions," she said.