Facebook shares soar after beating estimates on mobile gains

‘Misunderstood’ Mobile

“Our opportunity on mobile is the most misunderstood aspect of Facebook today,” he said. “Most people underestimate how fundamentally good the trend toward mobile can be for Facebook.”

About 60 percent of Facebook’s more than 1 billion members are accessing the service on mobile, compared with about 47 percent a year earlier. Since March, Facebook has introduced a range of tools aimed at wringing sales of mobile ads.

“We’ve said we are increasing our investment in monetization and we’ve also said that we are increasingly focused on mobile,” Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview. “The quarter represents real progress on both of those fronts.”

Still, in its first year in the running, Facebook is likely to rank only sixth in U.S. mobile advertising for 2012, with just 2.8 percent share of the market, according to EMarketer Inc. Google Inc., which is No. 1, is estimated to hold 55 percent, up from 52 percent in 2011.

‘Early Stages’

Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out Sponsored Stories as its inaugural mobile ad service, letting businesses promote content that a user’s friends have signaled they “like” or interacted with in some way. The social network then added Promoted Posts, which let companies highlight marketing messages to their fans and friends of fans.

“Mobile’s a great opportunity to grow our users, to grow engagement and to grow monetization,” Sandberg said. “We’re at the very early stages.”

Ad revenue grew 36 percent during the quarter to $1.09 billion. The company’s revenue from payments and other fees, which include sales of virtual goods in games, rose 13 percent.

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