Facebook revenue soars nearly 70%

Social network giant Facebook has reported an increase in revenue and profit despite recent acquisitions, the company's quarterly figures show tonight.

Facebook's first-quarter results have soared
Facebook's first-quarter results have soared

According to figures released by the social network, which was founded in 2004, revenue was up by more than 70% compared to the same quarter of 2013.

The technology firm reported revenue of 2.5 billion dollars (£1.4bn), compared with 1.46 billion dollars (£834m) in the same quarter last year. The social network also recorded a profit of 642 million dollars (£383m), as well as an increase in the number of daily active users of the service, up 21% on 2013 at more than 800 million.

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said: "Facebook's business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014. We've made some long-term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business. We're in great position to continue making progress towards our mission."

Revenue from advertising was also up, breaking the two billion-dollar barrier; an increase of more than 80% on last year.

One of the key areas for Facebook remains the mobile market - users accessing the site from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The acquisition of instant messaging service WhatsApp highlighted the company's determination in staying relevant in that sector.

The figures reported tonight support this strategy, with mobile advertising revenue representing more than 50% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2013, an increase of more than 20% compared to the first quarter of 2013.

Commenting on the mobile aspect of the results, Brett Dixon, director of DP Online Marketing, an online marketing agency said: "For Facebook, mobile is the next big thing. It's relying on this high growth area to save the day - and so far, so good. The growth of mobile couldn't have come at a better time for Facebook and is giving it new momentum.

"For a number of years, Facebook has been the king of social media but its crown has started to slip. The challenge it's facing is primarily twofold: how does it monetise its users and how does it avoid becoming stale? For Facebook to remain at the cutting edge of social media, when surrounded by so much innovation, is no mean feat."

The general rise in revenue in profit suggests that the acquisitions made by the social network in the first quarter are yet to be felt on the balance sheet.

"The impact of Facebook's recent acquisition of the instant messaging service, WhatsApp, remains to be seen", said Mr Dixon.

"Was this a last-ditch attempt to keep up with the ever-changing face of social media akin to its purchase of Instagram back in 2012? What's clear is that, done correctly, mobile could be what Facebook needs to silence the doubters and get firmly back on track."

As well as purchasing the instant message service WhatsApp, Facebook bought virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR, developer of the Oculus Rift headset that many regard as the future of gaming.

In addition to announcing the company's latest figures, Facebook also confirmed the departure of chief financial officer David Ebersman, after five years in the role. He will be succeeded by David Wehner, formerly of app developer Zynga, which was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

"David has been a great partner in building Facebook, and I'm grateful for everything he's done to help make the world more open and connected," said Mr Zuckerberg.

"David set us up to operate efficiently and make the long term investments we need, and built an incredibly strong team including Dave Wehner, our next CFO. I look forward to working with Dave in his new role."

Facebook announced its financial results on the same day as fellow technology giant Apple, with the Cupertino-based firm reporting profits of more than 10 billion dollars (£6bn).