Facebook gains ground on ITV as ad revenues surge 31% to £1.66bn

Social network saw net revenues up to £797m.

Facebook: paid £28m in tax
Facebook: paid £28m in tax

Facebook made £1.66bn in UK ad sales in 2018, according to its full-year accounts, and paid £28m in tax.

The social network outperforms Channel 4 in the UK ad market – the TV broadcaster's total revenues were up 1.6% to £975m in 2018 – but still has some way to go to catch up with ITV. The latter reported 2018 revenues of £3.8bn. However, Facebook's 31% growth last year is tenfold that of ITV's 3% boost to revenues.

In its filing to Companies House, Facebook said that "gross amounts from advertisers and others" amounted to £1.66bn during the year (up from £1.27bn in 2017). This resulted in "recognised revenue" of £797m (compared with £507m in 2017).

However, there was a "reseller expense" of £859m. Campaign contacted Facebook for clarification but has not heard back at the time of writing.

The company's accounts show that it made £97m in pre-tax profit (compared with £62m in 2017) and paid £28m in tax. Administrative expenses totally £667m, while profit after tax reached £68m, up from £46m in 2017.

Looking ahead, Facebook said that it faced uncertainties around the emergence of rival social networks and the impact of Brexit, which could "adversely impact the local economy, reducing online advertising spend" and potentially hitting it with "increased regulatory challenges".

Facebook's full-year UK accounts come on the back of strong second-quarter global results announced in July, when it reported a 28% surge in revenues. However, a shadow was cast over the announcement as news broke of the platform facing an anti-trust probe from the US's Federal Trade Commission.

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