Facebook announced its financial results for the final quarter of 2012 last night, posting revenues of $1.58bn and net income of $64m. But it was mobile growth that dominated the results and ensuing analyst call.
Some quick figures: Facebook ended 2012 with 1.06bn monthly active users (MAUs) and 618m daily active users (DAUs), up 25% and 28% respectively year-on-year. But it had 680m mobile MAUs, and more mobile DAUs than web DAUs in December.
Oh, and mobile accounted for around 23% of Facebook’s $1.33bn of advertising revenues in Q4 – a cool $305m of mobile ads sold in the quarter. “Today there’s no argument. Facebook is a mobile company,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts last night.
“I think more people are starting to understand that mobile is a great opportunity for us,” he continued. “Mobile is the perfect device for Facebook for three reasons. It allows us to reach more people. We have more engagements from the people who we reach, and I think we’ll also be able to make more money for each minute people spend with us on their mobile devices.”
Zuckerberg added that Instagram was used to share more than 600m photos to Facebook on New Year’s Day alone, and cited recent comScore stats suggesting that Facebook accounts for 23% of all time spent in mobile apps in the US, with Instagram accounting for another 3%.
It’s no wonder that Facebook has big mobile plans for 2013. “The next thing we’re going to do, is get really good at building new mobile first experiences. That’s going to be a big theme for us this year,” said Zuckerberg.
However, he tried again to squash rumours that Facebook is working on its own mobile phone. “People keep on asking if we’re going to build a phone. And we’re not going to build a phone,” he said, suggesting that the scale of people that Facebook could reach through its own device would be too small.
“The big thing for us is we’ve a billion people using our product and we need to make Facebook really good across all of the devices that they use, and we’re going to keep on pushing to get kind of more integrated with the system… I think people want it to be very integrated into all of the different devices that they have, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
COO Sheryl Sandberg elaborated on the company’s strong mobile advertising growth, saying that brands see Facebook as “one of the best places to reach their customers on mobile because of our unique ability to reach specific target audiences at scale”.
She cited a WalMart campaign on Thanksgiving weekend that delivered 15m mobile ads through Facebook as one example. “We think this is a very important fact in the evolution of mobile advertising, as these numbers rivaled a scale of broader web and TV campaigns.”
Sandberg added that Facebook’s mobile App-Install ads for mobile app developers are now being used by more than 20% of the 100 Top Grossing iOS apps to attract new users.
There were some interesting quotes from CFO David Ebersman too on Facebook’s mobile gaming ambitions. “What we’re seeing now is really strong growth and adoption of our platform in games on both iOS and Android and we want Facebook to be the default social infrastructure for mobile games,” he said.
Ebersman said Facebook’s message that developers will get “more users, more engaged users and better monetising users” if they integrate Facebook’s social graph is getting across, while hinting at future deeper integrations.
“At this point, we don’t have any payment integrations with these mobile games but our belief is that if we can help game developers to grow users’ engagement and monetization, it puts us in an interesting position to consider future financial relationships.”