Facebook has revealed its Q4 2015 results, with the news that 80 per cent of the company's record breaking $5.6bn (£3.9bn) ad revenue came from mobile advertising during this period, with Facebook earning more in a single quarter than Yahoo now generates in a year.
During the same period, Facebook's profits also doubled year-on-year to £1.56bn, despite the company investing heavily in expansion of its mobile ad network, along with ambitious projects like virtual reality, artificial intelligence and its Internet.org initiative.
While Google still remains almost three times larger in revenues, Facebook continues to close the gap as it accelerates its mobile advertising business and begins to mine its other businesses like Instagram and WhatsApp for potential revenues.
Q4 also saw Facebook closing in on 1bn daily active users on mobile, with the figure growing from 894m in Q3 to 934m, an increase of 4.4 per cent despite the relative maturity of the company's offering. Looking at monthly active users, Facebook grew by just under three per cent over the quarter to 1.59bn, with the fastest growth occurring in the Asia-Pacific, South American and African markets.
Mobile-only monthly active users saw a substantial jump, growing 13 per cent this quarter and over 50 per cent year-on-year, as growth in mobile-centric markets like Africa, along with the firm's Internet.org project, bore fruit.
The US remains central to Facebook's ongoing revenues however, with average advertising revenue per user climbing above $10.00 in the US and Canada for the first time ever to $12.89, an increase of around 30 per cent since last quarter. The same figure in Europe also climbed rapidly, up 31 per cent quarter-on-quarter to $4.36.
"Q4 was a strong quarter and a great end to the year," said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in the company's earnings call. "But it's important to consider not just our business results but also how we're improving the lives of people and communities around the world. In 2016 and beyond, we're going to continue...serving our community, working to bring connectivity to billions of people who're not yet connected, and building new technologies that give people more ways to express themselves."
Zuckerberg went on to discuss providing people with better tools for sharing content, improving Facebook's capabilities to serve different communities and optimising the company's services for people in developing countries. Looking at the company's other apps, he spoke about expanding Messenger's ability to request services, including booking flights with airlines through the app, and testing new ways for businesses to use WhatsApp.
"Heading into 2016, it is clear that consumers have shifted to mobile and businesses know they need to catch up," said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. "Marketers now realise that if they want to reach their customers where they are, mobile is essential. Facebook and Instagram have become the two most important mobile advertising platforms."
Sandberg also spoke about expanding Facebook's capabilities in real-time sharing, such as with its new Sports Stadium service, and how important it could be surrounding the upcoming US election. The push into real-time conversations shows Facebook taking aim at Twitter's traditional market, and given Twitter's recent turmoil, the year ahead promises to be an interesting one for the two companies' relationship.
With Apple and eBay both reporting slightly disappointing quarterly results, investors jumped on the good news from Facebook, which saw its shares rise almost 12 per cent in after-hours trading.