Facebook surges after rising sales quiet mobile-ad skeptics

Mobile Push

Mobile ads, which made up 30 percent of revenue in the first quarter, will soon account for more than half of advertising dollars, Zuckerberg said on a conference call. The number of mobile users expanded 51 percent to 819 million during the quarter. The total number of Facebook members was 1.15 billion, compared with 1.11 billion in the earlier period.

“This quarter represents a strong validation that we’re effectively navigating the shift to mobile,” David Ebersman, Facebook’s chief financial officer, said in an interview. “All the investments we’ve been making in the business have been paying off.”

Facebook is projected to take 13 percent of the global mobile-advertising market this year, up from 5.4 percent last year, according to EMarketer Inc. Even so, the company remains a distant No. 2 to Google Inc., which is expected to grab 56 percent of the market in 2013.

Facebook has stepped up efforts with its mobile services, including updates to its smartphone applications and a new video feature for photo-sharing service Instagram.

Daily Users

Net income attributable to shareholders was $333 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with a loss of $157 million, or 8 cents, a year earlier.

More than half, or 61 percent, of Facebook members use the site daily, a number that has risen even as management projected it would decline, Zuckerberg said on the call.

“As we’ve grown, I always expected our ratio of daily actives to monthly actives would decrease as later technology adopters joined our service,” Zuckerberg said. “The opposite has actually been true.”

Revenue from payments, which includes virtual goods sold in games such as “FarmVille 2” and “Candy Crush Saga,” grew to $214 million in the second quarter, a gain of 11 percent from a year earlier.

The company lowered its estimate on capital expenditures this year to $1.6 billion, down from its earlier forecast of $1.88 billion, due to efficiency gains and the timing of planned purchases, Ebersman said on the call.

Marketing Tools

Facebook is also making improvements to its advertising tools for marketers. The company said last month it intends to cut its 27 ad units by more than half, making the promotion- buying process more simple and efficient.

The social-networking provider has been wooing more large advertisers. In April, Facebook won back General Motors Co. as a customer almost a year after the automaker said it was pulling ads off the service.

“It’s been pretty clear for a long time that Facebook could monetize its 1.1 billion users a lot better,” Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles, said in an interview. “It may sound simple, but we always knew that if they would just try harder, they could deliver.”

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