Following Apple’s lead, Facebook reported record profits for the fourth quarter of the year.
Beating analysts’ estimates, the social colossus saw quarterly profits of 79 cent per share on $5.8 billion in revenue -- up just over 50% during the same period last year.
Echoing other analysts, Bank of America’s Justin Post estimated that Facebook needed to report quarterly revenue of at least $5.43 billion to keep the critics at bay.
For the full year, Facebook posted $3.69 billion in profit on $17.93 billion in revenue -- up 44% since 2014. “2015 was a great year for Facebook,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated.
Critically for the maturing social network, it also saw average revenue per user (ARPU) increase during the fourth quarter by about 25% to $3.73. During the period, mobile ad revenue represented approximately 80% of Facebook’s total ad revenue for the fourth quarter -- up from 69% during the same period last year.
In the quarter, 1.04 billion consumers checked out their Facebook accounts during your average day, which was by 17% year-over-year. Specifically, nearly 1 billion consumers (934 million) checked their Facebook mobile apps during an average day, which was up by 25% year-over-year.
During the period, monthly active users reached 1.59 billion during the quarter -- up 14% year-over-year -- while mobile monthly active users reached 1.44 billion, which represented an increase of 21% year-over-year.
Among other areas of strength, Facebook seems to be finding traction with its Audience Network, which achieved an annual run rate of $1 billion in revenue, last year.
Joining a crowded ad network marketplace, Facebook first launched the Facebook Audience Network, or FAN, in mid-2014. With FAN, the social giant offered its publishing and mobile app developer partners the promise of targeting registered Facebook users wherever they go. Just this week, it officially expanded FAN to include support for the mobile Web.
At the risk of alienating users, Facebook has also been far more willing to monetize its popular Instagram property. Brand Networks, for one, said it saw ad impressions on Instagram rise more than 13-fold from 50 million in August to 670 million in December.
Agency executives said Instagram has become a favorite playing ground for clients, on Wednesday.
“We've seen strong brand performance on Instagram, with a majority of our brand partners moving spend to the platform, some significantly,” said Max Kalehoff, chief marketing officer of Facebook marketing partner SocialCode.