Facebook higher following PT hike; WSJ details Zuck's transformation

|About: Facebook (FB)|By:, SA News Editor

SunTrust's Robert Peck has hiked his Facebook (FB +3.4%) PT to $65 from $55 (established in September), citing optimism about a number of ad and engagement  trends.

Peck thinks concerns about slowing news feed ad load growth (triggered by Q3 CC remarks) are "overdone" in light of improving ad targeting and pricing. He also considers teen usage concerns overblown, given Facebook has evolved from being a "cool app" to a social utility.

Peck is enthusiastic about Facebook's Instagram and video ad ramps (he thinks they could add ~$300M in 2014 revenue), and (citing 3rd-party data) believes Facebook and other social apps saw healthy usage trends in Q4.

Meanwhile, the WSJ has provided a behind-the-scenes look at how Mark Zuckerberg learned to stop worrying and love ad monetization, as his company contended with a rocky 2012 IPO and the mobile shift.

"If you brought up revenue in an argument with Zuck, you would lose automatically," says one former employee. But Zuckerberg gradually embraced news feed ads and non-social ads (i.e. ads not tied to "likes" and other social signals), and eventually concluded "some decline in usage would be an acceptable trade-off for higher ad sales," provided the drop was more than offset by other improvements.

Zuck: "It's not like I just decided to get more involved in ads ... I needed to because basically the ad product had to be more integrated."