This past quarter, Facebook took in a whopping $3.6 billion in ad sales, 53% more than the same period last year. Clearly, holiday marketers jumped on the social PPC bandwagon this year, but an astonishing number of advertisers also went mobile.
Facebook's mobile ad sales accounted for 69% of its total Q4 2014 ad revenue, topping $2.5 billion.
The proliferation of mobile drove Facebook's revenue for the year to about $12.5 billion. That's 58% more than they took in for 2013.
Crazy, right? It's almost like mobile is a thing.
Facebook can undoubtedly thank their video team for their stellar performance among mobile users. They unveiled a number of video enhancements in 2014, including call-to-action buttons after video plays, retargeting video viewers, video view counts and autoplay.
And just how many people are watching video on Facebook? Video views have hit 3 billion per day, according to Facebook, a figure that's tripled since September.
Image Source: Facebook
Facebook also revealed that over 890 million people used Facebook daily in December 2014, which is 18% more than a year before. Of those daily active users, 745 million were mobile users. That's right - over 80% of the people who use Facebook every day do so from a mobile device. Almost all users are at least partially mobile; 1.2 billion users use Facebook monthly from a mobile device.
Hey, do you remember back in 2013 when Forrester slammed Facebook ads and said they were less valuable than any other ad you could use? Ouch, right? CNET was even more critical, proclaiming in 2012 that "you're not clicking on Facebook ads - and you never will."
Back then though, in Q1 2012, Facebook's ad revenues had just broken a billion, while Google was closing in one three times as much. We did a report card-style comparison of Facebook vs. Google ads at the time and had to give Facebook a 'C' for targeting - it just wasn't there yet. They had no retargeting options, no partner sites and worst of all, no mobile advertising options.
Well, that has changed. Facebook has made vast improvements in their ad targeting, available formats, newsfeed integration and mobile display. As a result, Google is the only ad leader left standing in Facebook's path, as the only network leading them in ad revenue.
That may change, too. This fall, Facebook unveiled their revamped Atlas system, acquired from Microsoft in 2013. Atlas makes possible targeting far more granular than the Google Display Network is capable of and allows advertisers to track logged-in users as they move around the web. Facebook's 1.3 billion users spend most of their online time logged into their account - just imagine the personalization and targeting possibilities here.
We'll see how it all plays out, but Facebook just blew away analyst expectations for their Q4 ad revenue and it's largely thanks to their prowess in mobile.