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Facebook’s Q1 beats expectations thanks to successful mobile strategy

Facebook’s raking it in. Financial results published Wednesday for the first three months of this year showed the company’s focus on mobile ads is paying off nicely, with overall revenue hitting $2.5 billion, up 72 per cent on the same period 12 months ago.

Profit for the quarter topped $642 million, up from $219 million a year earlier. Other promising data included a growing user base, now at 1.28 billion, marking an increase of 15 percent on last year’s figure. A whopping 802 million users currently log into their accounts on a daily basis, Facebook reported.

Breaking the numbers down, 59 percent of its $2.27 billion in ad revenue came via mobile ads, the company announced – a notable jump from last year’s 30 percent figure and a sure sign that its mobile strategy is heading in the right direction.

Mobile daily active users hit 609 million, marking a rise of 43 percent, while a 34 percent increase in mobile monthly active users took the count past the billion mark (1.01bn) for the first time in its 10-year history.

Mobile expansion

Facebook’s mobile expansion in the last quarter involved its acquisition in February of messaging app WhatsApp, as well as the launch of news reader app Paper in the same month. Two more of its mobile offerings, Instagram and Messenger, are also performing well, with data showing each now has a user base of around 200 million.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an earnings call with investors Wednesday the social networking giant intends to go on building “new apps for sharing different kinds of content with different people,” a move which could potentially see revenue from mobile ads go off the scale. However, he added that for apps such as Paper and Instagram, the focus is currently on pulling in new users rather than monetization.

Just two years ago, when it was yet to run its first mobile ad, Facebook said in its pre-IPO S-1 filing it had serious concerns about its ability to make money via ads on smartphones and tablets.

“We may not be successful in our efforts to grow and further monetize the Facebook platform,” the social media company said in the filing, adding that it could face grave difficulties if it was unable to balance “its efforts to provide a compelling user experience with the decisions we make with respect to the frequency, prominence, and size of ads and other commercial content that we display.”

Going by today’s better-than-expected financial results, those fears were not only unfounded, but also way off the mark.

[Image courtesy of Twin Design/Shutterstock]