Facebook sales, driven by mobile, shoot up nearly 60 percent

Roughly two thirds of total revenue came from mobile ads

Facebook continues to reap rewards in mobile, growing its crucial ads business in large part due to ads placed on smaller screens, the company reported Tuesday.

Total sales for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 amounted to US$3.2 billion, up 59 percent from the same period last year, and beating consensus analyst expectations of $3.12 billion, as polled by Thomson Reuters.

Roughly two-thirds of sales, or 66 percent, came from ads placed on mobile devices, Facebook reported, up from just under half of all revenue coming from mobile a year ago.

Facebook's ability to monetize its site with ads on smaller screens was in previous years a concern to investors, but the company has demonstrated considerable progress there.

Advertising highlights flagged by the social networking giant included ongoing expansion of its custom audiences and lookalike audiences capabilities, which was recently used by MetLife to drive people to its 'Get a quote' website page. According to Facebook, the six-month campaign generated 2.4 times more new policies than MetLife’s next best-performing channel.

Facebook also re-launched Atlas, its an ad-serving and measurement platform, in Q3, closed its acquisition of LiveRail, and rolled out Audience Network.

Facebook also reported decent gains in growing its user base, a critical element in attracting and retaining advertisers. The number of users who logged in at least once a month clocked in at 1.35 billion, Facebook said, up 14 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of users who logged in daily -- another important metric -- rose by 19 percent to 864 million.This included an average of 703 million mobile users in September 2014, an increase of 39 percent year-over-year.

Facebook stock was at around $79.99 in after hours trading following its earnings report, down slightly from its close of $80.77, possibly signaling lingering investor concerns over Facebook's progress toward growing its audience.

Facebook nearly doubled its net income for the third quarter, to $806 million. The company's adjusted earnings per share was $0.43, above analyst estimates of $0.40.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in Facebook's announcement, called the results "strong," showing a "good quarter."

In Australia, local managing director, William Easton, said the momentum here mirrored the global results.

“We are seeing increased numbers of people on the platform and there is strong demand from advertisers both large and small," he commented. "Our investment in new advertising tools Atlas and Liverail, plus our recent launch of video products and Instagram ads, offer Australian marketers exciting opportunities throughout Q4 and into 2015."

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Zach Miners and CMO staff

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