Facebook Revenue Soars In Q1

Despite soaring expectations, Facebook made investors smile on Wednesday.

Thanks to strong ad operations, the social giant reported a 52% jump in first-quarter revenue -- from $3.54 billion to $5.38 billion. Even more impressive, net income reached $1.51 billion -- or 52 cents a share -- which was up nearly 300% year-over-year.

Facebook “started 2016 off well,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors in an earnings call. That is an understatement. 

Ad revenue grew by 57% to reach more than $5.2 billion, while mobile ad revenue reached $4.2 billion -- up 75% year-over-year -- and is now 82% of total ad revenue.

All told, more than 1.65 billion people now use Facebook each month, and 1.09 billion do so each day -- up 16% year-over-year.

More than 1.5 billion people accessed Facebook from mobile devices in March, which is up 21% from last year.

In recent weeks, Facebook has consistently seen more than 1 billion users for its platform on mobile every day, Zuckerberg noted on Wednesday. Worldwide, people now spend more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

Analysts struggled to articulate Facebook’s success on Wednesday. “To illustrate the success Facebook is having, we estimate the company will capture 47% of global digital advertising growth and 43% of all advertising growth outside of China this year,” Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser said in a note.

More focused on video than ever, Facebook’s executives were particularly excited about Live and 360 video, on Wednesday.

During the quarter, they noted that “Game of Thrones” was the most-watched 360 video on Facebook in a 24-hour period with more than 12 million total views. As of February 2016, meanwhile, the time people spend watching videos on Instagram increased by more than 40% over the preceding 6 months.

All told, Facebook now boasts more than 3 million active advertisers, and more than 200,000 on Instagram. A significant number of these advertisers are small and medium businesses.

As such, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, described SMBs as a “very core competitive advantage for us,” on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Facebook announced its intention to create a new class of nonvoting Class C capital stock, -- which among other benefits, would be designed to secure Zuckerberg’s leadership role.

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