NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook's earnings nearly tripled and revenue grew sharply in the first quarter, surpassing Wall Street's expectations thanks to an 82 percent increase in advertising revenue.
It was the fourth quarter in a row that Facebook beat forecasts as it continues to barrel ahead in mobile advertising at a time when nearly 80 percent of its users are accessing it on smartphones and other portable gadgets.
The world's biggest online social network said Wednesday that it earned $642 million, or 25 cents per share, in the January-March quarter, up from $219 million, or 9 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Adjusted earnings, which exclude stock compensation expenses and other costs, were $885 million, or 34 cents per share, in the latest quarter.
Facebook's revenue was $2.5 billion, up 71 percent from $1.46 billion in the same period a year ago.
Analysts, on average, were expecting adjusted earnings of 24 cents per share on revenue of $2.36 billion, according to a poll by FactSet.
Shares of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook climbed $2.34, or 3.8 percent, to $63.71 in extended trading after the results came out. The stock had closed down $1.67, or 2.7 percent, at $61.36 amid a broader market decline.
There were 1.28 billion monthly Facebook users at the end of March, up 15 percent from a year earlier. The number of users who log in every day increased 21 percent to 802 million.
The number of Facebook users who log in at least once a month using mobile devices climbed 34 percent to surpass 1 billion for the first time. Daily mobile users were 609 million, up 43 percent from a year ago.
Advertising revenue totaled $2.27 billion. Of this, mobile advertising accounted for $1.34 billion, or 59 percent. That's a bigger share than in the fourth quarter of 2013, the first time mobile accounted for more than half of Facebook's ad revenue, at 53 percent.
Facebook held a 6 percent share of worldwide digital ad revenues last year, according to research firm eMarketer, which expects the company's share to grow to nearly 7 percent this year. Google, in comparison, garnered 32 percent of worldwide digital ad spending in 2013 and is expected to drop slightly to a fraction below that number by the end of 2014.
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