It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Facebook Execs Stop Just Short of Tap Dancing in Celebration of Mobile Revenue

In 2012, Facebook "became a mobile company," according to Zuck.
(elitedaily.com)

(elitedaily.com)

Doesn’t it seem the Facebook IPO was just yesterday? And yet here we are at the company’s third earnings release, which brings promising news. In fact, we’re a little surprised the Facebook execs on the earnings call didn’t punctuate their remarks with jazz hands.

That’s because, 23 percent of the company’s $1.33 billion in Q4 ad revenue came from mobile. That’s a jump from Q3, when it was about 14 percent. And it’s a big jump from last year, when it was basically zero. Overall ad revenue was also up 40 percent.

“Today there’s no argument — Facebook is a mobile company,” crowed Zuck in this afternoon’s earnings call.

Sure, there were plenty of others things mentioned on the conference call: Zuck talked up Graph Search while attempting to manage expectations re: Gifts. COO Sheryl Sandberg revealed that 65 percent of advertisers opt for the Newsfeed, which promises higher click-throughs and conversion rates.

But this show was really all about mobile. Zuck danced his way through a series of examples of Facebook’s newfound smartphone pizzaz: As of New Year’s Eve, there were 680 million mobile monthly active users, a 57 percent increase over last year. (Jazz hands!) Day-to-day, more people now access the service via mobile than web. (Jazz hands!) Familiar features now work just great on mobile.

Zuck even cited numbers from ComScore, saying Facebook now accounts for 23 percent of all time spent on apps, with Instagram accounting for another 3 percent. And take a bow, sir!

The goal for the next year, he added, is to get just as good at building “new, mobile first” experiences. Poke didn’t exactly get the company off to the best start, but it sounds like there’ll soon more people on staff helping generate and realize ideas. Mr. Zuckerberg said they plan to add to the headcount in product development.

Growth don’t come cheap, though. In his own remarks, CFO David Ebersman explained that their expenses are likely to grow 50 percent in the next year. It’s also worth noting that, as New York‘s Kevin Roose pointed out on Twitter, that the company spent $1.4 billion in R&D in 2012.

Not that Facebook is currently a small business, either: According to Mr. Ebersman, the company has something like 4,600 employees. Total headcount grew 44 percent in 2012, driven by a beefed-up technical staff.

“We’re committed to building a highly profitable, cash-generating business in the long run” Mr. Ebersman. One certainly hopes so.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com