Facebook reports a big sales jump, helped by mobile ads

Revenue was $US2.91 billion for the second quarter, with more than half derived from mobile ads

Facebook's earnings for the past five financial quarters.
Facebook's earnings for the past five financial quarters.

Facebook's quarterly sales rose 61 per cent on the strength of mobile advertising, the company said Wednesday.

Sales for the second quarter, which ended June 30, were $US2.91 billion the company reported, beating financial analysts' estimates of $2.81 billion, as polled by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue from advertising, which makes up the bulk of Facebook's sales, was $US2.68 billion, up 67 per cent from the same period last year. Of that, 62 per cent, or $US1.67 billion, came from ads on mobile devices, a 41 per cent jump from 2013.

Facebook shares were trading at $US72.70 soon after the market close, up from a closing price of $US71.29.

Net income for the quarter was $US791 million, up 138 per cent from $US333 million in the same period last year, Facebook reported. Excluding share-based compensation and other expenses, Facebook's earnings per share was $US0.42, blowing away analyst estimates of $US0.32.

Facebook had a good second quarter, said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in the company's announcement. "Our community has continued to grow, and we see a lot of opportunity ahead as we connect the rest of the world," the statement said.

Facebook now has 1.32 billion monthly active users, a 14 percent increase from the same period last year.

Facebook's ability to make money on mobile was a concern to investors when the company went public in 2012. Since then, it has assuaged those concerns, reporting for the first time earlier this year that it made more than half its sales on mobile.

Facebook is expected to swallow up roughly 22 percent of the total global mobile ad market this year, according to eMarketer, up from 5 percent in 2012. Google, one of Facebook's largest competitors, is expected to take half the market.

It's still a lingering concern among some analysts whether Facebook can hold the attention of its younger users as fresh sites and apps such as Snapchat and Tumblr have come along. Zuckerberg and other company executives may address those issues when they take questions from analysts during a conference call Wednesday.

They may also give an update on the success of ads in Instagram, which Facebook acquired in 2012. Instagram started running ads last November.

(More to follow.)

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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