Facebook brought another outstanding quarter, boosted by its mobile advertising engine and ability to continue attracting users to its suite of apps. The company reported fourth-quarter revenue and earnings on Wednesday that beat analysts’ estimates, squeezing nearly 30% more revenue per user in the fourth quarter, pumping its advertising muscle ahead of an anticipated slowdown in growth later this year.
Users spent more time watching videos on Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram, providing the social media giant with more slots for ads. That built on growth in mobile advertising that Facebook has been taking advantage of for several years.
Each user produced $4.83 in revenue in the fourth quarter, jumping from $3.73 a year earlier. Revenue in the fourth quarter, ending Dec. 31, rose 51% to $8.81 billion, from $5.84 billion in the same period a year earlier, topping the $8.51 billion expected on average among analysts polled by Yahoo Finance.
Facebook added nearly 270 million users in 2016, bringing its monthly user base to 1.86 billion, the strongest increase in the number of users since Facebook went public in 2012. Most of the growth in users came from outside the U.S., such as in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the U.S. and Canada were the source of its increase in revenue.
User growth in the latest quarter was strong. The total of monthly active users grew 17% year-over-year to 1.86 billion, from the same period last year. Year-over-year, daily active users in the latest quarter increased by 18% to 1.23 billion.
“Our mission to connect the world is more important now than ever,” said Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Facebook. “Our business did well in 2016, but we have a lot of work ahead to help bring people together."