Facebook's mobile ad revenue surges to 53% of Q4 total

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) reported a surge in profit and revenue in the fourth quarter, and said that the percentage of revenue it gets from mobile advertising crossed 50 percent for the first time. The company also announced "Paper," a standalone visual social status and news reading app.

facebook paper app

Facebook plans to soon launch its new Paper app.

The social networking giant said net income in the quarter was $523 million, compared with $64 million in the year-ago period. Facebook said revenue clocked in at $2.59 billion, up 63 percent, compared with $1.59 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. Revenue from advertising was $2.34 billion, a 76 percent increase from the year-ago quarter.

Facebook's mobile business continues to grow. Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 53 percent of advertising revenue in the fourth quarter, up from 49 percent in the third quarter and 23 percent in the year-ago period.

In terms of usage, Facebook said there were 757 million total daily active users on average for December 2013, an increase of 22 percent year-over-year. The company said mobile daily active users totaled 556 million for December 2013, an increase of 49 percent year-over-year.

Facebook is starting to take a more prominent role in the wireless world. After becoming a member off the GSMA last November (the only social media or Internet company to be one), the GSMA recently announced that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will deliver a keynote address next month at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain.

"I think it's inarguable that Facebook is a mobile-first company," Facebook CFO David Ebersman said in an interview with the New York Times.

Facebook is going to continue to build standalone apps based around its core Facebook mobile app. "One theme that should be clear from our work on products like Messenger, Groups and Instagram is that our vision for Facebook is to create a set of products that help you share any kind of content you want with any audience you want," Zuckerberg said on the company's earnings conference call yesterday, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

To that end, Facebook unveiled Paper, which, according to Re/code, is the fruit of a multi-year effort under Chris Cox, Facebook's vice president of product, to give a new aesthetic to how Facebook users consume content. The app is similar in visual style to the news reader Flipboard app, and users click through content like status updates, photos and news stories by swiping through a deck of cards.

According to Re/code, the app focuses on how users post items. For example, in the composition area, users can see what their status update or posted photo will look like after they have posted it. Additionally, photos are full-size and navigable and videos take up the whole screen. Further, the app is split into different sections based on story topics, from technology to funny items to top headlines. The stories will also be hand-curated by Facebook editors, not generated algorithmically.

For more:
- see this release
- see this NYT article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Re/code article
- see this separate Re/code article
- see this TechCrunch article

Special Report: Wireless in the fourth quarter of 2013

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