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Facebook on a roll with mobile growth with 4th-quarter results jumping past expectations

FILE- In this Thursday, April 4, 2013, photo, Michael Goodwin, Senior Partner for HTC, displays an HTC First cell phone wit the new Facebook interface at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook reports quarterly financial results on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

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FILE- In this Thursday, April 4, 2013, photo, Michael Goodwin, Senior Partner for HTC, displays an HTC First cell phone wit the new Facebook interface at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook reports quarterly financial results on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Facebook can celebrate its 10th birthday a few days early.

The results from its latest quarter showed that for the first time, mobile advertising accounted for more than half of its total ad revenue. That's a clear sign that the social network born a decade ago in the desktop computer era is succeeding in its goal of being "mobile first."

Facebook's earnings and revenue for the final three months of 2013 handily surpassed Wall Street's expectations for the third quarter in a row as it further expands the number of users and the amount of money it makes on mobile ads.

"If 2012 was the year where we turned our core product into a mobile product, then 2013 was the year we where we turned our business into a mobile business," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call with analysts. "I expect 2014 will be the year where we begin to deliver new and engaging types of mobile experiences."

Facebook Inc. said Wednesday that it earned $523 million, or 20 cents per share, in the October-December quarter. That's up from $64 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $780 million, or 31 cents per share, in the latest quarter, 4 cents ahead of analysts' estimates.

Revenue grew 63 per cent to $2.59 billion, from $1.59 billion. Analysts, on average, had expected revenue of $2.35 billion, according to FactSet.

Facebook's stock soared 12 per cent in extended trading after the results came out.

Facebook Inc., which turns 10 years old next week, had 1.23 billion monthly users worldwide at the end of 2013. Of those, 757 million signed in at least once a day, up 22 per cent from a year earlier.

Monthly mobile users stood at 945 million, up 39 per cent. That means more than three-quarters of Facebook's users log in using their mobile devices at least once a month. Daily mobile users grew 49 per cent to 556 million.

Fifty-three per cent of Facebook's ad revenue came from mobile during the quarter, up from 49 per cent in the third quarter.

Facebook continues to grow its share of the worldwide digital advertising and within that, mobile advertising market. It reaped nearly 6 per cent of the world's digital ad revenue in 2013, up from 4 per cent in 2012, according to research firm eMarketer. Online search leader Google, meanwhile, accounted for a 32 per cent share of the market in 2013.

When it comes to mobile ad spending, Facebook accounted for an 18 per cent share of the total amount companies spent in 2013, according to eMarketer. That's up from 5 per cent a year earlier.

Facebook's stock jumped $6.41 to $59.94 in extended trading. The stock had closed the regular trading session down $1.61, or 3 per cent, at $53.53 before the earnings announcement.

Through Wednesday's close, the stock had gained 51 per cent in the past six months, far more than the 6.4 per cent increase for the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which the Menlo Park, Calif., company recently joined.

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