Facebook (FB) Earnings Q3 2013: Earnings Just Under Wall Street Predictions, But Mobile Ads Lift Revenue Above Expectations

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Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) reported its fiscal 2013 third-quarter earnings Wednesday after markets closed. The Menlo Park., Calif.-based social network giant reported earnings per share slightly lower than Wall Street expected, though revenues beat even optimistic predictions. Facebook posted 17 cents EPS on $2.02 billion in revenue, while analysts polled by Reuters and EarningsForecast.com had expected 18 cents EPS on $1.91 billion of revenue.

Net income for the quarter was $425 million, compared with a net loss of $59 million a year earlier.

Facebook’s daily active users increased 25 percent year-over-year to 728 million, and monthly active users were up to 1.19 billion, an increase of 18 percent from Q3 2012.

Perhaps most important were reports that Facebook's mobile growth continued at a rapid pace in Q3. MAUs on mobile devices were up 45 percent year-over-year to 874 million.

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Those mobile users generated $1.8 billion in ad revenue for Faceook, a 66 percent increase from the year-ago quarter. Mobile ads represented 49 percent of total ad revenue in Q3 2013, an increase from 41 percent in Q2 2013.

Total revenue for Facebook increased 60 percent from Q3 2012.

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"The strong results we achieved this quarter show that we're prepared for the next phase of our company, as we work to bring the next 5 billion people online and into the knowledge economy," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook will host a conference call at 5 p.m. EDT, and IB Times will update this article with additional information. You can listen to the conference call here, and view Facebook’s full earnings release here

Update: 5:22 p.m. EDT: During the conference call, Facebook's chief financial officer, David Ebersman, noted that DAUs were down on the Web for the first time, but attributed this to the shift to mobile devices.

Ebersman also addressed a concern among investors about usage among teenagers. Ebersman said that is hard to calculate because of inaccuracies in how teens report their age, but that the best available data points to stable usage among teens, though there was a decrease in usage with younger teens.

Ebersman mentioned that going forward, Facebook will work on improving the quality and relevancy of News Feed ads, though he warned investors not to expect the percentage of ads on News Feed to grow. He also warned that Facebook expects expenses to grow in future quarters. 

Zuckerberg mentioned the launch of the internet.org project and the Facebook mission to "connect the world." He also cited the purchase of Onavo and its data compression technology to help make it easier and less expensive for the world to access Facebook.

Zuckerberg also touted important evolutions for Facebook in Q3, including improvements to Graph Search, improvements to mobile apps like Instagram and Messenger, as well as the Facebook Artificial Intelligence group. Zuckerberg said Facebook is looking for new ways to approach AI that can "make sense of all the content people share," and alluded to growing voice recognition capabilities on Facebook. 

Finally, Zuckerberg discussed Facebook's goal of "building the knowledge economy," and said the company is dedicated to helping marketers make better ads while making the ads a better experience for users. Zuckerberg said DAUs engage with one ad per week on Facebook, indicating a lot of progress in the quality of ads. 

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg discussed the strong growth in Facebook advertising, especially on mobile apps. She said users spend more time on Facebook and Instagram on mobile devices than other apps combined. 

"Our ads are getting better, and we still have a long way to go," Sandberg said. 

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