Facebook reported a 34% rise in profits for Q4 of 2014, on the back of strong performance in mobile advertising. The social media giant’s earnings of $701 million or $0.54 per share also surpassed analyst expectations of $0.49.
For high-growth, consumer-facing Internet companies like Facebook, the snapshots of user engagement in the 10Q are arguably as important as the financials. On this account, Facebook also fared well. The number of daily active users jumped to 890 million, up 18 percent, while global mobile users increased 34 percent year-over-year to 745 million. Most of this growth is coming from Asia, where the company added 23 million daily active users, despite the fact that the service is banned in China.
One note of slight concern for investors was Facebook’s increased spending. The company spent $1.1 billion on research and development in Q4 of 2014, nearly triple the amount in the same period a year earlier. The extra spending meant the profit per dollar revenue decreased to 29% from 44% the previous year.
The monetization opportunities in Asia are rich; Facebook currently makes only $1.27 from each of its 449 million monthly active users in the region, compared to around $9 in the U.S. and Canada. Personal media sharing was also up. The company reported that nearly 2 billion photos are shared each day across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, while Facebook users collectively consumed over 3 billion videos on a daily basis.
In the earnings conference call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg touted a recent report from Deloitte that claimed that Facebook created over 4.5 billion new jobs and more than $225 billion in global economic impact in 2014. He also spoke about Internet.org, a company initiative aimed at providing free Internet access to developing countries. Among the countries where the service has launched include Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, and Colombia; 6 million people have connected to the Internet for the first time through the program.
Despite the generally positive news, the notoriously fickle after-hour traders sunk the stock 1.5 percent. As of Thursday at 10 AM ET, it was trading at $75.31.