Facebook rings in profits as mobile ads hit $666m

Figures published by the social network last night show mobile advertising is its biggest money-spinner - as Google cements its rivalry with Apple.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 21 Aug 2013
What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Facebook shares slid by 11% when its first trading update as a publicly listed company turned out decidedly lacklustre.

Today, it’s all changed: shares in the social network are up by 18% after it reported a $333m (£217m) profit in the second quarter, pushed up by mobile ad revenues, which reached $655.6m. That figure is more than 40% of the overall $1.6bn it made from advertising, compared with 30% for the same period last year. And with mobile users rising 51% to 819 million, we’d say Facebook’s mobile advertising revolution is well and truly under way.

The company still has some way to go before it makes any real inroads into the market, mind: research by eMarketer suggests it will need to make more than $2bn from mobile advertising to increase its share of the digital ad market to 5.04%, from 4.11% in 2012.

And although share prices have risen, they are still 16.7% down from the $38 investors paid when it made its stock market debut.

Still, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg seemed optimistic.

‘This quarter marks the end of our first year as a public company and I think we’ve created a good foundation for the future,’ he said.

And so to Facebook\s Silicon Valley neighbour, Google, which has cemented its position as Apple’s newest arch-nemesis with the release of the Chromecast, a ‘dongle’ which allows users to watch videos streamed from phones, tablets or computers through their television.

This isn’t Google’s first attempt at conquering our living rooms: in 2010 it launched Google TV, a smart TV platform eventually blocked by several networks. Last year, it partnered with Sony to release a £200 set-top box – although it wasn’t particularly well received.

But the company’s latest attempt looks more encouraging: the device, which plugs into a TV’s HDMI port, will cost just shy of £25 – undercutting Apple’s £100 Apple TV by three-quarters of its price.

Be afraid, Apple. Be very afraid…

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