Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) experienced its largest advertising growth ever in the first quarter of 2014, helping the Menlo Park, Calif. social networking company beat Wall Street expectations and continue to grow its revenue.
Facebook reported $2.5 billion of revenue in the quarter that ended March 31, a 72 percent increase year-over-year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted Facebook to report $2.4 billion.
"This was a busy quarter and a strong start to 2014," Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, said in a conference call. "We continued to grow our community and size of engagement."
Grow the community, indeed. Facebook now has 1.28 billion month users and 63 percent (802 million) of them use the social network every day.
"As people continue to join Facebook, the amount that use it every day also continues to increase," Zuckerberg said. "For the first time in the last quarter, more than 50 percent used [Facebook] almost every day of the week."
That user growth did wonders for advertising, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said advertising grew 82 percent in the first quarter, the largest growth Facebook has ever experienced.
Facebook continued to capatilize on the shift to mobile devices. More than 1 billion people now access Facebook on smartphones and tablets, 609 million people use mobile Facebook every day, and 341 million only use Facebook on a mobile device.
The company's mobile advertising business grew with the users, and mobile ads represented 59 percent of Facebook's total ad revenue, compared to 30 percent for the same quarter in 2013.
The social media giant also generated an average of $2 of revenue from each of those users.
In total, Facebook reported a net income of $642 million, or 25 cents per share, beating Wall Street expectations of $613 million.
Zuckerberg once again repeated the three core missions of Facebook: connecting everyone, understanding the world and building the knowledge economy. He touched on Facebook's many projects -- Internet.org, the new Paper app and the blockbuster purchases of WhatsApp and Oculus VR -- and how each contributed to Facebook's goals.
Facebook CFO David Ebersman reminded investors that the WhatsApp and Oculus VR deals have not yet closed, so they do not impact the first-quarter earnings report. Ebersman also announced that he would leave Facebook in September after five years with the social network to return to a career in healthcare. Ebersman will be succeeded by David Wehner, who is currently Facebook's vice president corporate finance and business planning, on June 1.
Ebersman pointed out that the numbers in this report do not reflect Instagram, which Facebook acquired in April 2012. The photo-sharing service has grown to more than 200 million monthly users.
While all sectors of Facebook's advertising business were on the rise, there was a decrease in payments from users for things like video games. Ebersman said that this is an area Facebook wants to work on growing in future quarters.
Zuckerberg also discussed the future of apps like Messenger, Instagram, and eventually WhatsApp, and noted that the primary strategy is still to grow these apps to 1 billion users before focusing on monetization.
Sandberg did not answer questions regarding user engagement with Facebook's new auto-play video feature, and Ebersman avoided a question about a usage decrease among Asian countries.