Facebook’s 4Q Earnings: Mobile Daily Average Users Top Web, Revenue Up, Expenses Sink Net Income

By David Cohen 

Facebook’s transition to a mobile company continues unabated, as the social network announced within its fourth-quarter earnings release that mobile daily average users surpassed Web DAUs during the period for the first time ever.

Facebook said it totaled 1.06 billion monthly active users and 618 million DAUs as of Dec. 31, up 25 percent and 28 percent, respectively, versus Dec. 31, 2011.

The social network had 680 million mobile MAUs as of Dec. 31, up 57 percent year-over-year.

Facebook’s fourth-quarter revenue of $1.585 billion was up 40 percent from $1.131 billion in the year-ago period, with 84 percent of that revenue, or $1.33 billion, coming from advertising, up 41 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.

Mobile played a large role in this sector, as well, as mobile’s share of advertising revenue rose to 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 14 percent in the third quarter.

The company’s costs and expenses skyrocketed during the fourth quarter, driving its net income down. Facebook spent $1.06 billion in the recent quarter, up 82 percent from the previous-year period, causing GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) net income to plunge to $64 million, versus $302 million in the same quarter of 2011.

Facebook said that excluding share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, as well as income tax adjustments, non-GAAP net income for the fourth quarter was $426 million, or $0.17 per share, versus $360 million ($0.15) in the prior-year quarter.

Among the social network’s costs and expenses were $198 million for purchases of property and equipment during the fourth quarter, as well as $89 million of equipment procured or financed through capital leases.

GAAP income from operations was $523 million, down slightly from $548 million in the year-ago quarter, and when excluding share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, non-GAAP income from operations rose to $736 million from $624 million.

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:

In 2012, we connected more than 1 billion people and became a mobile company. We enter 2013 with good momentum and will continue to invest to achieve our mission and become a stronger, more valuable company.

Readers: Were there any surprises in Facebook’s fourth-quarter-2012 earnings report?

Mobile phone image courtesy of Shutterstock.