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Facebook unlocks Q1 profit through mobile advertising growth

Facebook continued to see gains from mobile during the first quarter, and now boasts 751 mobile million monthly active users, a 54 per cent increase from the same time period last year.

Revenue for the first quarter came in at $1.46 billion (£938.9m), up 38 per cent from the same time period last year, but down from $1.585 billion (£1.02bn) in the fourth quarter. Income landed at $219 million (£140.8m).

Advertising revenue was $1.25 billion (£803.9m), or 85 per cent of total revenue. Of that, 30 per cent came from mobile advertising, which is up from 23 per cent in the last quarter.

During a call with analysts, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said the firm has seen success with the mobile app installs added to users' news feeds. During the quarter, 3,800 developers used those ads to drive 25 million app downloads, he said. Of the top 100 apps in the iOS and Android stores, 40 per cent of them used Facebook's mobile app install ads.

Also on mobile, Zuckerberg talked up Facebook Home as an "important milestone," though he stressed that it's "still very early." At this point, the company hasn't really made a huge push for people to install Home, in part because of its limited availability. But in the coming year, Facebook hopes to "push this out much more broadly and get this in the hands of a lot more people," he said.

Zuckerberg also shared that Instagram, which topped 100 million users in February, is "growing faster than Facebook did when it was this size."

Zuckerberg said growth is the main focus for the photo-sharing site, which Facebook acquired a year ago for a reported $1 billion (£643.1m).

"They're growing very quickly, and that's the right focus for them," he said. "They have this opportunity to capture and build up this huge community and that should be 100 per cent of the focus right now."

Zuckerberg is "optimistic about the business opportunity" for Instagram," since brands are already embracing the app. But right now, Facebook is focusing on growing that user base while pondering ways to create a richer experience for brands.