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Thursday Nov 03, 2016

Facebook quarterly profit soars, lifted by mobile ads

Facebook quarterly profit soars, lifted by mobile ads

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook on Wednesday (Nov 2) delivered another blockbuster earnings performance, showing solid growth in mobile ad revenues as the social network expands into new services.

Profit leapt 166 per cent to US$2.4 billion on revenue that surged to US$7 billion from US$4.5 billion during the same period a year earlier, third quarter results showed.

"We had another good quarter," Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in the earnings release. "We're making progress putting video first across our apps and executing our 10 year technology roadmap."

Zuckerberg has laid out a long-term vision for Facebook that includes virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and even providing internet service to remote areas using self-flying drones.

Facebook's third quarter earnings results "displayed strong top-line momentum and improved profitability," Baird Equity Research said in a note to investors.

Facebook shares ended the official trading day down 1.8 per cent but rose slightly to US$127.48 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings.

The social network had an average of 1.79 billion monthly users as of the end of September in a 16 per cent jump from a year earlier, according to the earnings report.

The number of people accessing Facebook from mobile devices monthly climbed 20 per cent to 1.66 million.

Revenue from mobile advertising accounted for about 84 per cent of the ad money taken in by Facebook during the quarter, up from 78 per cent during the same three-month period last year, according to the social network.

Facebook has become a powerhouse in online advertising, getting traction from new formats on mobile and its ability to glean data to deliver personalised or targeted marketing messages.

The research firm eMarketer estimates that worldwide ad revenues at Facebook will reach nearly US$26 billion this year, up from US$17.08 billion in 2015, and hit more than US$33 billion in 2017.

It is also starting to bring in ad revenue from its Instagram photo- and video-sharing application.

Facebook recently took direct aim at video-loving adolescents, and Snapchat, with the release of an iPhone app that allows teens to watch clips about the lives of their classmates.

The app, called Lifestage, is available for anyone to download on iPhone, although seeing profiles of other users is reserved for those 21 years of age or younger.

Video sharing has been among nearer-term priorities for the Silicon Valley-based company, which has seen sharing of that kind of content climb.

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