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Facebook smashes revenue expectations once again

Facebook has beat forecasts for profit and revenue for the seventh quarter in a row, with mobile advertising revenue playing a key role as users shift to using smartphones and other devices.

The social media giant's revenue grew to $3.85 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from $2.95 billion a year earlier. Analysts forecasted Facebook's revenue would be $3.78 billion.

The Asia-Pacific revenue was $531 million, up from $469 million the previous quarter.

Overall Facebook earned $701 million, or 25 cents per share, in the October-December quarter. This was up from $523 million, or 20 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings totaled 54 cents per share.

Advertising revenue for Facebook climbed 53% to $3.59 billion. Mobile ad revenue was 69% of Facebook’s total advertising revenue for the quarter, a percentage which grew steadily throughout 2014.

Although Facebook has been around for a decade, and the lifespan of social media sites is historically brief, the company made a number of developments and changes over the course of the year and revenue, users and income have all steadily increased.

Facebook’s yearly revenue for 2014 was 12.47 billion, which is an increase of 58%, and income from operations for 2014 was $4.99 billion while net income for the full year was $2.94 billion.

The number of Facebook users grew 13% from the year prior, reaching 1.39 billion active users. Daily users totalled 890 million, which was up 18%, and mobile monthly active users was up to 1.19 billion.

"We got a lot done in 2014. Our community continues to grow and we're making progress towards connecting the world," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO.

Facebook also owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and other stand-alone apps that have been met with varying levels of success. The company is also investing heavily in ongoing projects such as Oculus and Internet.org.

Zuckerberg has said he doesn’t care about making money, rather he is intent on working on new projects. Highlighting this, costs and expenses for the fourth quarter grew 87% to $2.72 billion from a year earlier.

Facebook will continue investing in a variety of areas, from virtualisation to connectivity, that may not pay off for a long time, he says.