Facebook's share price jumps after it beats expectations

 
James Nickerson
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Facebook were expected to post strong financial results (Source: Getty)

Facebook's share price has jumped after the social network announced results that topped already high expectations.

The social media giant's share price jumped over 8.8 per cent in after hours trading.

Facebook, which expected to report strong, steady growth, reported revenue of $5.4bn (£3.7bn) in the three months ending 31 March.

That's against the average analyst estimate of $5.3bn, and up 51.9 per cent from the $3.5bn reported in the same quarter a year before.

Non-GAAP earnings, meanwhile, came in at $0.77 per share, against expectations of $0.62 per share and up from $0.42 in the same quarter last year.

GAAP net profits were reported at $1.5bn, up from $512m in the same three month period in 2015.

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"We had a great start to the year," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive. "We're focused on our 10 year roadmap to give everyone in the world the power to share anything they want with anyone."

Facebook grew advertising revenue by 57 per cent during the quarter to $5.2bn. Mobile advertising contributed around 82 per cent of that total, up from 73 per cent in the same quarter a year ago.

Meanwhile, the number of daily active users grew to 1.09bn, an increase of 16 per cent year-on-year. The number of people who use the website each month rose to 1.65bn, a 15 per cent year-on-year increase. Expectations were for 1.62bn.

Facebook's results stand in contrast to Twitter, which yesterday reported that it had missed revenue estimates and cut its forecast for the second quarter.

"A few years ago Facebook bet very big on mobile and that bet continues to pay off. If you look at the per cent of revenue coming from mobile, and then you look at the data in terms of where people are spending more time and where people are coming online for the first time, it's mobile," said Norm Johnston, global chief strategy & digital officer for WPP’s Mindshare.

"So they've done a phenomenal job of taking a look at the future and developing their business around mobile.

"As a consequence of the major players, Facebook is the most attractive, focussed and future-proofed advertising platform in the business at the moment," he added.

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The results come after Zuckerberg recently revealed the company's ten year plan, including a number of big ideas, including virtual reality, live video and intelligent chat bots.

But that's meant investment. Total costs and expenses were reported at $3.4bn.

Johnston adds that Facebook is incredibly focussed on costs and investments, and "given what they've done over the past couple of years from an acquisition stand point or building out new advertising formats or underlying technology, all of that continues to pay off".

"If you look at stats around mobile phone usage, on average a person uses eight apps on a daily basis. It's a pretty sure bet that one or more of those will be a Facebook app - whether that's Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram," he said.

"They're simply dominating the mobile space. For any advertiser that's a really attractive proposition. They've proven they're very focussed on investments and costs and you can see the payoff of that now."

The company also announced that its board of directors had approved a proposal to create a new class of non-voting capital stock.

This proposal is designed to create a capital structure that will, among other things, allow the company to remain focused on Zuckerberg's long-term vision and encourage Zuckerberg to remain in an active leadership role at Facebook, the firm said.

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