Analysts had projected fourth quarter revenue of $8.51 billion, a 46 percent year-over-year increase. Facebook beat that mark, delivering revenue growth of 51 percent, and its shares rose modestly in after-hours trading.
At the current growth rate it will hit 2 billion monthly active users by the middle of this year. It’s also worth noting that the figures for total active users and mobile users is converging. 2017 may be the year that the two data points become essentially synonymous. Mobile advertising makes up the lion’s share of Facebook’s ad revenue, coming in at 84 percent in the last quarter of 2016.
Facebook did take a $500 million hit today, when a jury sided with ZeniMax in a case over the origins of Oculus and its virtual reality hardware. But that will be a speed bump the company can easily handle given its current financial momentum.
Total revenue for 2016 reached more than $27.6 billion, compared to last year’s $17.93 billion. The company boasted continued growth of its revenue and user base in 2016 alongside similar expansions of Facebook-owned Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus virtual reality products but most of its successes were overshadowed at the end of the year by now-ubiquitous debates over the circulation of “fake news” on social media during the US presidential campaign and Facebook’s changing relationship with the media.