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Facebook’s Mobile Explosion Helps Boost Revenue

January 30, 2013

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Facebook today reiterated that the future is mobile, with Mark Zuckerberg asserting during a fourth-quarter earnings call that "Facebook is a mobile company."

That is evident in the growth of Facebook's mobile ad business - which was non-existent at the start of 2012. In the fourth quarter, 23 percent of revenue from ads came from mobile, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said.

"Marketers are realizing more and more that Facebook is one of the best places to reach customers on mobile," she said.

In terms of the numbers, Facebook reported revenue of $1.585 billion, up from $1.131 billion during the same time period last year. But the social network saw its profits drop from $302 million in 2011 to $64 million during the fourth quarter.

Facebook attributed that slip to increased costs related to mobile and advertising products, the social network told Bloomberg.

A lot of that work in 2012 was simply improving Facebook's mobile development cycle, Zuckerberg said today. "Now we're there," he said, pointing to the big speed and stability improvements made to the Facebook for Android app in December. The next step will be to "get really good at building 'mobile first' experiences."

In news that likely won't be music to privacy advocates' ears, Zuckerberg also discussed an improvement to targeted ads and "designing better ad products that aren't just about links and texts and images," but those that incorporate information like age range or location.

Zuckerberg also talked up Facebook's new search tool, Graph Search. "It's good for lots of things that you wouldn't use a traditional search engine for," he said. "It could turn into a meaningful business for us." For now, Facebook is refining Graph Search and working on rolling it out to all users, Zuckerberg said.




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