Has Facebook finally succeeded in becoming a mobile-first company? That’s the big question heading into the social network’s third quarter earnings results Wednesday.
Facebook has impressed analysts and investors in each quarter so far this year by reporting strong growth in mobile ad revenue. The company revealed that mobile ads accounted for 41% of total ad revenue in the second quarter this year, up from 30% in the first quarter and essentially nothing a year earlier. If that growth continues, Facebook could approach or even surpass the 50% mark this quarter.
Facebook has taken steps in recent weeks to make mobile ads more effective, including testing autoplay video ads in the news feed and introducing more calls to action on mobile app install ads to entice users to click, though it’s doubtful either had much impact on the previous quarter results.
Beyond the mobile ad stats, analysts will likely be looking for any updates or hints about the company’s new and as yet unannounced ad products. Instagram is expected to introduce ads this week, perhaps finally justifying the amount Facebook paid for the company. On the other hand, Facebook has repeatedly delayed introducing video ads on the homepage raising questions about when and how the company will choose to go this route.
Overall, Facebook is expected to report earnings per share of $0.19 on revenue of $1.91 billion for the quarter, up from earnings of $0.12 a share on revenue of $1.26 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.
Facebook stock has been on a tear this year, rising to as high as $54.83 earlier this month, roughly three times the low of $17.55 a share it hit a year earlier. The stock was hovering just below $50 a share in early trading Wednesday, an increase of 1% on the day.
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