Facebook’s mobile users surpassed computer users for the first time, with mobile accounting for a quarter of all ad revenue for the social network, according to the company’s latest financial results.
Announcing its fourth quarter results, Facebook revealed that profits dipped despite a rise in revenue aided by the mobile boom.
Facebook said earlier that its number of mobile users jumped 57 per cent from a year ago to 680 million, and for the first time surpassed the number using computers, which came in at 618 million on average for December 2012.
More than 600 million people used Facebook daily – a 28 per cent increase from the previous year, with the rise driven by mobile, the company said.
But the number of people connecting to Facebook from desktop computers was “flat or declining,” executives said during an earnings call with analysts.
The social network – which listed in New York last May in a $104bn (£65.7bn) flotation – warned expenses could shoot up by 50% this year.
It comes after costs in the fourth quarter of 2012 jumped 82% to $1.06bn (£670m).
Facebook’s profit fell to $64m (£40.5m) – a steep drop from the $302m (£191m) recorded in the same period a year earlier.
But revenue over the period grew by 40% to $1.585bn (£1bn), boosted by mobile advertising revenue which doubled over 90 days.
The eight-year-old company said its mobile users were up almost 60% from a year ago at 680 million, surpassing the number using computers for the first time.
This increase helped drive the number of people who use Facebook on a daily basis to more than 600 million people – a 28% increase from the previous year.
By the end of December, the social network had a total of 1.06 billion monthly users, but it has come under pressure from investors to turn this into a sustainable – and money-making – business.
Mr Zuckerberg, who set up the website while at Harvard University, said Facebook plans to spend heavily to recruit top talent this year.
Expenses could jump 50% in 2013, he warned, with investment expected to climb to as much as $1.8bn (£1.14bn).
“We aren’t operating to maximise our profit this year but we’re doing what we think will build the best service and business over the long term,” he said.
Shares in the company – which have halved in value since its listing in May – fell following the release of the results.
Shares in Facebook fell by almost 6% in after-hours trading in New York.
The shares launched on the Nasdaq stock exchange in May at $38, and had halved in value by September.
Commenting of FacebooEden Zoller, principal analyst at Ovum, said: “Facebook Q4 2012 results give cause for optimism and suggest the company is on the right track following its disappointing IPO and the lacklustre two quarters that immediately followed. What stands out from Facebook’s Q4 results is the centrality of mobile for its service strategy and growth.
“Revenues from mobile advertising accounted for 23% of total advertising revenues compared to 14% in the previous quarter, with sponsored stories in the mobile news feed and app install ads proving effective. Wal-Mart alone delivered 50 million mobile ads to customers. This solid progress on the mobile advertising front should be applauded as a key challenge for Facebook has been how to monetize its growing mobile user base, particularly as an increasing number interact with the platform by only via mobile devices.
“Facebook reported 680 mobile monthly active users in Q4, of which 157 million were exclusively mobile. Facebook also noted that the recently launched Graph Search would be a pillar for future growth, although it would not be drawn on details. There will be growing pressure for Facebook to monetize Graph Search over the coming quarters and the most obvious way it could do so is via sponsored search. Although revenues from gifts and games only present a small part of Facebook’s revenues the story on this front was muted, as were insights into Instagram’s contribution to future growth.”