Facebook Inc is on a roll. The world's largest online social network posted sharply higher earnings on Wednesday as revenue from mobile advertising continued to grow, and more people used it, more often.
Facebook Inc's fast-growing mobile advertising business helped drive a 61 percent increase in revenue during the second quarter, beating Wall Street's financial targets and sending shares to a record-high in after-hours trading on Wednesday.
Facebook said that it earned $788 million, or 30 cents per share, in the April-June period. That's up from $331 million, or 13 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
Adjusted earnings were 42 cents per share, handily beating Wall Street's expectations of 33 cents, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research.
The world's No 1 Internet social network said on Wednesday that it saw increased interest from both advertisers and from users during the second quarter, while the company's profit margins expanded.
Facebook now counts 1.5 million advertising customers and the company's ad business saw strong growth across all of its geographic regions, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.
"We're seeing our existing advertisers spend more and we're seeing new people come on to the platform," Sandberg said.
Investors bid up shares of Facebook roughly 5 percent to $75.13 in after-hours trading on Wednesday, giving the Internet company a roughly $190 billion valuation, putting it on par with IBM Corp.
"It might be more expensive from a market cap perspective, but I don't think anyone was expecting this level of profitability," JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey said.
Facebook's operating margin expanded to 48 percent of revenue in the second quarter, up from 31 percent in the year-ago period. Overall revenue of $2.91 billion beat the average expectation of $2.81 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Facebook executives stressed on a conference call that the company planned to invest aggressively in new projects, such as the Oculus virtual reality headset business that Facebook recently acquired for $2 billion.
And executives reiterated past comments that nascent advertising efforts in video and in the Instagram photo-sharing app would not contribute significantly to the top line in the near term.
Nor will Facebook take the "cheap and easy" route of putting ads or payment capabilities within its Messenger app, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on a conference call with analysts on Wednesday.
JMP's Josey said that the go-slow approach was not a concern for investors.