Facebook Q4 revenue growth slows, spending soars

Analysts concerned over runaway operating costs, despite pleasing gains in mobile ads space

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Facebook Q4 revenue growth slows, spending soars
By  Stephen McBride Published  January 29, 2015

Facebook beat analysts' expectations as it saw fourth-quarter revenue growth of 49%, stemming largely from mobile advertising, Reuters reported.

But, while the social media company surpassed Wall Street's projections for both profit and sales, spending rose faster (87%) than revenue and despite the enviable growth figures, the revenue increase was the lowest since the start of 2013.

Shares were down 2.6% in after-hours trading.

Nonetheless, analysts pointed to Facebook's success in taking a larger slice of the online advertising market at the expense of players such as Yahoo and Google, as marketing professionals shift their focus from PCs to mobile handsets. Facebook's mobile ads revenue was $2.48bn in Q4, which represented 69% of total advertising sales.

Facebook yesterday said it ended 2014 with 1.39bn monthly users, and that 86% of them were mobile users.

In 2015 Facebook will focus on yet more investment, which may include more acquisitions to add to WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus. The company is particularly interested in video.

"We have great marketer interest in video," said chief financial officer Dave Wehner. "It's a creative medium that they know how to use effectively."

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