“Birthday Boy” Facebook Reaping Big-Time Benefits From Mobile Ads

On February 4, Facebook celebrated its 10th birthday.

Consider it icing on the cake for the world’s most popular social network, which has continued to make all kinds of news and moves over the past several months – much of which we’ve chronicled here at the official blog of Amplitude Digital.

And although Facebook also just took a highly-shared viral video broadside hit, there’s much, much more to celebrate beyond the milestone birthday.

Like a massive boost in overall revenue. Keyed largely by a strong surge in advertising revenue.

Facebook recently reported its earnings and overall progress for the fourth and final quarter of 2013, as well as the year as a whole, and the closing numbers were truly impressive. The surging social network raked in $7.87 billion in overall revenue in 2013 – a surge of 55% over 2012 revenue figures. In the fourth quarter of 2013 alone, Facebook’s advertising revenue accounted for $2.34 billion, or 89% of the company’s total revenue in the year’s closing quarter.

MediaPost, in its Social Media & Marketing Daily blog, recently delved deeper into the recent explosion in advertising revenue Facebook has enjoyed – and detailed how much of this growth has been driven by mobile advertising.

The blog post highlighted Facebook’s extremely strong advertising sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 – ad sales which drove an astounding 63% overall revenue growth over the Holiday months. Facebook geared up to celebrate its 10th birthday by stacking that aforementioned $2.34 billion in advertising revenue in the year’s closing quarter – a 76% spike from the 2013 fourth-quarter ad revenue figures.

Mobile advertising made up the majority of those surging ad sales, accounting for nearly $1.25 billion, or 53% of Facebook’s total ad revenue in the quarter. That figure was more than double the 23% of the overall advertising pie that mobile ads represented in the same period the previous year. It also marked the first time in the company’s history that mobile advertising accounted for more than half the company’s ad revenue in any quarter of Facebook’s 10-year history.

“The mobile shift is happening and it’s working really well for Facebook,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said in the company’s official earnings release.

As much as mobile expansion has been the impetus behind Facebook’s sales growth over the past year or so, the company also began testing video advertising in the closing months of 2013. Sandberg told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that the company would continue to expand video advertising, and many observers see this as yet another wildly lucrative new revenue stream for the world’s most popular – and seemingly most addictive – social network.

Speaking to that addictive, or “sticky” aspect of Facebook, the MediaPost blog post also noted that Facebook’s dedicated daily active users increased in number to 728 million as of December 2013 – with mobile daily active users surging to 556 million. When looking at monthly active Facebook users, those numbers surge to an astonishing 1.23 billion overall users and 945 million mobile monthly active users.

The MediaPost article also mentioned that Facebook has begun testing  a long-rumored ad network that would show ads in mobile apps outside of  Facebook. In a recent post on the Facebook For Business page, the company stated they are “running a small test to show Facebook ads in mobile apps. Our aim is to demonstrate even greater reach with the same power of Facebook targeting for advertisers both on and off Facebook.”

Facebook further defined this “small test” as “more like a mobile ad network in that we are working directly with a small number of advertisers and publishers rather than an outside ad-serving platform,” and explained its reason for this testing as follows:

“As mobile continues to move to more app-based experiences, advertisers want to reach people spending their time in apps and developers need new ways to make money.”

Facebook itself seems to have no shortage of new ways to make money as it celebrates its 10th birthday. The company’s CEO, founder and wunderkind, Mark Zuckerberg, was understandably thrilled with the way Facebook ended 2013 – along with the potential that awaits the second decade of existence and evolution for the social network he originally created in his Harvard University dorm room.

“It was a great end to the year for Facebook,” said Zuckerberg in Facebook’s release. “We’re looking forward to our next decade and to helping connect the rest of the world.”

Zuckerberg, Sandberg, and the entire Facebook team clearly have quite a bit to look forward to in the year and years to come. But what do YOU as an advertising agency, advertising brand or individual think about these recent developments in the world of social media? And how “mobilized” are you as we increasingly transition into a more “forwardly mobile” society?

Let us know in the comments section below this blog post. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

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