Facebook’s status: Profit, revenue beat expectations

By Barbara Ortutay, AP

NEW YORK — For the seventh quarter in a row Facebook beat profit and revenue forecasts, continuing to win more mobile advertising revenue as most users shift to using the site on smartphones and other portable devices.

The world’s biggest online social network said Wednesday that advertising revenue jumped 53 percent to US$3.59 billion for the fourth quarter �X with mobile ad revenue representing 69 percent of the total. That percentage has grown steadily in each quarter of this year.

Facebook’s massive user base also expanded. It had 1.39 billion monthly active users at the end of the year, up 13 percent from a year earlier. Daily users totaled 890 million, up 18 percent. Mobile monthly active users jumped 26 percent to 1.19 billion.

��The bigger Facebook gets, it cements its position as one of the most dominant players in digital media, and it has the size and reach to change the rules of digital advertising and convince others to play by them,�� said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer.

Facebook, which turns 11 years old this year, began offering mobile ads in 2012, the year its stock began publicly trading. More recently, Facebook expanded into video ads, which are very lucrative, and last year it re-launched Atlas, a tool for marketers to better target people across devices, platforms and publishers and to measure how well the ads work.

Facebook had a ��strong quarter capping off a really great year,�� Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview.

She called 2014 the year Facebook completed the shift to mobile, and said the company will continue to make investments to build its business this year. When it comes to Facebook’s ad business, the focus is squarely mobile. Sandberg said that in the U.S., 25 percent of consumers’ time spent on various media is spent on mobile �X while only about 10 percent of advertising budgets goes to mobile.

��What that says to me is that we have opportunity for growth,�� she said.

The company is still a long way from catching up to rival Google Inc. in the digital advertising market, though. In 2014, Facebook had a nearly 8 percent share of the market compared with Google’s 31 percent according to eMarketer. That’s an increase for Facebook and a slight decrease for Google from 2013.