Mobile accounts for more than half FB revenue

Mobile advertising accounted for more than half of Facebook’s total advertising revenue in the final quarter of 2013, a sign that the social network born a decade ago in the desktop computer era is succeeding in its goal of being “mobile first”.

Facebook’s earnings and revenue handily surpassed Wall Street’s expectations for the third quarter in a row as it further expands the number of users and the amount of money it makes on mobile ads.

“If 2012 was the year where we turned our core product into a mobile product, then 2013 was the year we where we turned our business into a mobile business,” chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call with analysts.

“I expect 2014 will be the year where we begin to deliver new and engaging types of mobile experiences.”

Facebook said it earned $523m, or 20 cents per share, in the October-December quarter, up from $64m, or three cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $780m, or 31 cents per share, in the latest quarter, four cents ahead of analysts’ estimates.

Revenue grew 63%t to $2.59bn, from $1.59bn. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $2.35bn, according to FactSet.

Facebook’s stock soared 12% in extended trading after the results came out.

Facebook, which is 10 years old next week, had 1.23 billion monthly users worldwide at the end of 2013. Of those, 757 million signed in at least once a day, up 22% from a year earlier.

Monthly mobile users stood at 945 million, up 39%. Daily mobile users grew 49% to 556 million.

Fifty-three per cent of Facebook’s ad revenue came from mobile during the quarter, up from 49% in the third quarter.

Facebook continues to grow its share of the worldwide digital advertising and within that, mobile advertising market. It reaped nearly 6% of the world’s digital ad revenue in 2013, up from 4% in 2012, according to research firm eMarketer. Online search leader Google, meanwhile, accounted for a 32% share of the market in 2013.

When it comes to mobile ad spending, Facebook accounted for an 18% share of the total amount companies spent in 2013, according to eMarketer, up from 5% a year earlier.

Facebook’s stock jumped $6.41 to $59.94 in extended trading. The stock had closed the regular trading session down $1.61, or 3%, at $53.53 before the earnings announcement.

Up to yesterday’s close, the stock had gained 51% in the past six months, far more than the 6.4% increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, which the Menlo Park, California, company recently joined.

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