Happy Birthday Facebook: How Zuckerberg got a Dh11.4bn return gift yesterday

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In one fell swoop, Facebook, the world’s largest social network that turned 10 yesterday, proved the business case for social media as it posted a 63 per cent increase in revenue and a staggering 717 per cent increase in profits for the fourth quarter.

As the social media site turned 10, it gave a huge return gift to its founder, growing his net worth by 11.6 per cent in a single day. As Facebook stock spiked up 12 per cent in after-hours trading to an all-time high of $59.98 per share, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth rose $3.1 billion (Dh11.4bn) to $29.7bn (Dh109bn) after Facebook announced of its 2013 Q4 earnings after market close on Wednesday.

“It was a great end to the year for Facebook,” said Zuckerberg. “We’re looking forward to our next decade and to helping connect the rest of the world.”

According to intelligence provider Wealth-X, at 29 years old, Zuckerberg’s current fortune equates to more than $1 billion for every year he has lived. The primary push to Facebook’s profits came from mobile ad sales, which rose to 53 per cent of revenues from 49 per cent in the previous quarter. With this, Facebook registered its first ever quarter with mobile ad revenues of $1 billion-plus.

Facebook’s revenues for the full year 2013 shot up to $7.87 billion (Dh28.9bn), an increase of 55 per cent year-over-year, while revenues for the fourth quarter climbed 63 per cent to $2.59bn (Dh9.5bn).

Net profits for the fourth quarter, meanwhile, surged to $523 million (Dh1.92bn), up from $64 million in the previous quarter (Dh235mn).

Of course, the social media site is not adding users as it once used to – monthly active users went up by (just) 16 per cent, to 1.23 billion, but it seems more of us are now Facebooking through our mobile devices, helping the site make a neat profit through ad sales in the process.

Of the total 1.23bn users, active mobile users per month surged 39 per cent to 945 million, which shows that 3 out of 4 users now access Facebook through a mobile device. Little wonder then that Facebook’s mobile ad revenue was 53 per cent of total revenue. Analysts expect that percentage to grow further to reflect the mobile vs. PC accessibility ratio of 3:1.

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