If there is one company that has figured out the mantra to mobile engagement and monetization, that is Facebook (Nasdaq: FB). The company recently reported impressive fourth quarter results that not only silenced all skeptics, but also helped drive their stock to a record high. After their initial IPO debacle, the company has surely figured out its way, with Zuckerberg maturing steadily at the helm.
Fourth quarter revenues grew an impressive 63% over the year to $2.59 billion, significantly ahead of market expectations of $2.35 billion. EPS of $0.31 also soared past the Street's target of $0.27 for the quarter. By segment, revenues from advertising grew 76% to $2.34 billion with mobile devices contributing 53% to the quarter's revenues. Revenue from payments and other fees came in at $241 million for the quarter.
Among operating metrics, daily active users grew 22% to 757 million. Monthly active users rose 16% to 1.23 billion. Mobile usage continued to soar and recorded a 49% growth to 556 million users with mobile monthly active users growing 39% to 945 million. Revenues for the year grew 55% to $7.87 billion and EPS grew 66% to $0.88.
Facebook's Mobile Growth
Facebook continued to increase their efforts within the mobile space. Revenues for the quarter from mobile crossed $1 billion, but they have not slowed down. Recently, Facebook increased their mobile offerings by releasing an independent news reading app, Paper. It will use algorithms and human curators to deliver customized news including branded content to its readers.
Paper was Facebook Creative Lab's first major achievement. The app has received positive reviews because of its user-friendly layout. It allows readers to use vertical and horizontal finger swipes to navigate within the story and share it with their contacts. However, the biggest advantage offered by Paper is its integration with Facebook's News Feed, which will help clean up Facebook's mobile app by grouping news articles in various categories.
Paper is expected to become a useful tool for media companies as they will be able to offer to their readers snippets of information as the story unfolds to help retain their interest. Paper is going to be ad free initially, but analysts expect content to become sponsored soon to improve monetization. For now, the app is available only on the iPhone, but is expected to be released for other devices shortly.
But Paper has not come without its share of controversy. Another iPad app, Paper by developer FiftyThree is complaining about Facebook's use of the name for their app. FiftyThree's Paper app allows users to share their ideas across the Web and through social media network. The app had become the leading app in 2012. The companies are hopeful of seeing some resolution soon.
Paper is also not expected to be Facebook's only independent app. They will continue to develop more such mobile apps, which are expected to be released this year and will help improve mobile revenues and member base while keeping their users engaged.
Facebook's stock is trading at $61.48 with a market capitalization of $151.12 billion. It touched a record high of $63.77 last month, soon after the announcement of its results.
Disclosure: No positions