Facebook profits nearly triple to $642 million


Facebook Inc said it is switching to fewer but bigger ads on the right-hand column of the desktop PC version of its website because users respond more frequently to them.

NEW YORK - Facebook profits nearly tripled in the first quarter to $642 million on a 72 percent surge in revenues, helped by strong gains in mobile users and mobile advertising.

Demonstrating that it is successfully following the shift from personal computers to mobile devices - which a year ago appeared to pose a huge challenge for the company - Facebook said on Wednesday that advertising revenues on its huge social network were up 82 percent to $2.27 billion from a year ago.

Of that, earnings from mobile ads comprised 59 percent of the total. One year ago mobile ads were less than one-third, and three months ago they were 53 percent.

Total revenue, which also include payments and fees, was up 72 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion. Helped by a strong jump in operating margins, net profits rose from $219 million to $642 million.

Earnings per share came in at 25 cents; operating earnings per share jumped to 34 cents, handily beating the 24 cents expected by analysts.

Facebook shares, which had surged in the days ahead of the report but eased back in regular trade Wednesday, were up 2.8 percent in after-hours trade at $63.07.

Facebook users continued to increase and shift over to mobile devices, underscoring the need for the company to grow its revenue there.

Total daily active users were up 21 percent from a year ago to 802 million, and of them mobile users totaled 609 million, a year-on-year gain of 43 percent.

Monthly active users meanwhile rose to 1.28 billion, one billion of them on mobile.

"Facebook&39;s business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014," Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

"We&39;ve made some long-term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business," he said.

"We&39;re in great position to continue making progress towards our mission."

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