Facebook profits miss estimates but rise on mobile user growth

Facebook profits rose with growth on mobile devices but missed forecasts for the quarter, the company announced Wednesday afternoon.

Revenue increased to $1.46 billion, a 38 percent jump from the same period last year but lower than the 40 percent increase the company reported in the previous quarter. The firm reported net income of $219 million, lower than the $308 million analysts had expected.

The company had warned last quarter that its profits would dip under higher expenses. Costs this quarter were up 60 percent from the previous one.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg signaled that Facebook’s quieter quarter is the result of big investments it’s made in company infrastructure and a new round of hiring.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the first few months of the year,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “We have seen strong growth and engagement across our community and launched several exciting products.”

The company said that it now has 1.11 billion monthly active users, an increase of 23 percent over the previous quarter. Mobile user growth was higher — up 54 percent with 751 million mobile monthly active users.

Ahead of the report, analysts were eyeing the company’s mobile ad revenue and growth figures for hints as to how well it’s navigating the traffic shift to mobile devices, which yield less lucrative ads.

Ad revenue overall grew 43 percent from the same period last year, with mobile ads expanding enough to now account for about 30 percent of the company’s $1.25 billion in ad dollars, compared with 23 percent in the previous quarter.

Facebook has been spending a lot of time and effort on new development, including its Facebook Home program for Android smartphones and its redesigned News Feed. The company has also been introducing new products to help online advertisers better target its users based on their online and offline purchases.

Facebook also pointed to its Instagram acquisition, saying that the firm has reached 100 million monthly active users this quarter. That’s in line with what the photo-sharing service had previously reported.

Facebook shares closed at $27.43 per share and held fairly steady in after-hours trading. As of 5:15 p.m., the stock was trading slightly up at $27.53 per share.

(Washington Post Co. chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Related stories:

Facebook rejects ad criticizing actions of Zuckerberg political group

Facebook flexes political muscle with provision in immigration bill

Facebook makes a major foray into mobile

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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