Facebook’s sales and profits for the fourth quarter of 2013 beat Wall Street’s expectations, sending the social network’s shares soaring in after-hours trading on Wednesday.
The company’s profits hit $523 million for the fourth quarter of last year, up from $64 million for the same period the year before. Adjusted earnings per share stood at 31 cents, five cents higher than predicted by a compilation of analysts assembled by Bloomberg. Shares jumped by as much as 9 percent after the market closed today.
Facebook’s mobile numbers impressed most. The company, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary next week, reported that mobile advertising accounted for 53 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 49 percent in the third quarter. That figure is made all the more important by the increasing number of people accessing Facebook using a mobile device only. In the final three months of last year 296 million monthly active users were classified as ‘mobile only’ by Facebook, up from 254 million users in the previous quarter. The number of mobile only users has grown by many millions each quarter, and stood at 157 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Speaking during an earnings call, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg explained that the company’s mobile advertising revenue in the last quarter was nearly as much as total revenue a year ago, emphasizing how far the social network has progressed in the mobile space.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed during the same conference call that the company would focus on quality rather than quantity regarding advertising. The social network recently introduced auto-play videos on users’ news feeds. This may comfort those worried an increasing number of adverts will appear on the site.
The number of monthly active users on the site increased 16 percent from the previous year to 1.23 billion on average, as of December 31, 2013. Asia saw the largest boost in monthly users.
The company did not report any new data on the number of teens using the social network. Last quarter chief financial officer David Ebersman warned that less young teens were using Facebook, causing shares to plummet.