Belfast Telegraph

Facebook profits hit almost £2bn after surge in ads

By Roger Baird

Facebook has posted annual profits of almost $3bn (£2bn) after a surge in advertising in the final three months of the year.

The social networking giant said its advertising revenue grew by 53% to $3.6bn in the final quarter compared to a year ago, as increasing numbers use the company to stay in touch with friends and family.

Over the year it said its monthly active users rose 13% to 1.4bn, while the number of people who used the site everyday lifted 18% to 890m. Its annual profit almost doubled to $2.9bn (£1.9bn) from a year ago.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who founded the firm in 2004, said: "This has been a good quarter for Facebook and a great end to the year.

"Our community continued to grow in size and engagement, and we're very pleased with the growth of our business."

He added that time spent on the site in the final three months of the year rose 10% compared to a year ago.

The business said 301m of its monthly active users were in Europe and the continent has 217m users who use the site daily.

Facebook has been boosted due to the success for its mobile ads for smartphones and tablets. This success contrasts with other established internet companies such as Google and Yahoo, which have struggled as advertisers shift more and more to mobile devices from personal computers.

The market expects that 2015 will be a year of heavy investment from Facebook, as the company steps up efforts to expand a collection of products that include messaging service WhatsApp, photo-sharing service Instagram and virtual reality headset maker Oculus Rift.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said: "Heading into 2015, we're excited to build on the progress we've made with our core ad products, as well as with newer areas like video, Instagram and advertising technology."

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