Facebook Reports Strong Quarterly Earnings, Beating Analysts’ Estimates

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Boosted by a surge in advertising, Facebook posted strong third-quarter financial earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, the company said Wednesday.

The social-media giant said revenue was up 12.5 percent from a year ago to $4.5 billion. Earnings per share came to 57 cents, up 33 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted revenue of $4.36 billion and earnings of 52 cents a share.

Facebook said advertising revenue grew 45 percent from a year ago to $4.29 billion. About 78 percent of it was through mobile advertising, up from 66 percent in the third quarter of 2014.

The number of monthly active users grew 14 percent year-on-year to 1.55 billion. Analysts had expected growth of 1.52 billion.

“We had a good quarter and got a lot done,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, said in a statement. “We’re focused on innovating and investing for the long term to serve our community and connect the entire world.”

Shares of the Menlo Park, Calif., company closed at $103.94 Wednesday, up 1.33 percent. Shares have gained 32 percent since the start of the year.

Facebook was buoyed by strong advertising revenue from its mobile app, which saw daily active users climb 27 percent from a year ago.

Facebook hopes to generate more advertising revenue from Instagram, the photo-sharing app it purchased in 2012 for $1 billion, which has recently expanded its marketing products.

Facebook is also said to be launching a new standalone news app next week, according to the Financial Times.

The app, named Notify, will compete with Snapchat, Twitter and Apple to deliver news natively, rather than link back to the publisher’s website. The app is similar to an earlier news feature the company launched called Instant Articles, which pushed content onto users’ news feeds.

Publishers on Notify will include CNN, the Washington Post and CBS, the Financial Times reported.

Analysts expect continued growth for Facebook as its mobile apps garner more users. The company is also expected to generate new advertising opportunities as its virtual-reality property, Oculus, matures. The company is also competing with Google to develop a leading virtual personal assistant powered by artificial intelligence.