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Facebook Now Serves One Billion People Daily, Beats Street Estimates

Facebook beat Wall Street earnings estimates Wednesday.

David Ramos/Getty Images

Facebook’s mobile revenue continues to climb as the company beat Wall Street’s Q3 earnings estimates on Wednesday. It also notched a significant user metric, reaching 1.01 billion people a day on average.

Facebook reported profit of 57 cents a share on revenue of $4.5 billion for the quarter, up 41 percent over the same period last year. Analysts were looking for 52 cents a share on sales of $4.37 billion.

The majority of that revenue came from mobile advertising, at $3.4 billion. That accounts for 78 percent of Facebook’s total ad revenue, up from 66 percent a year ago, a nod to the company’s growing reliance on reaching users through mobile devices.

But the company also saw a significant jump in expenses, surging 68 percent to $3 billion. Those added costs may be related to the company’s preparations in launching Oculus, its VR effort, early next year. CFO Dave Wehner told Re/code that Facebook is certainly investing in long-term initiatives, like Oculus and its plan to bring Internet to the masses, But the bulk of Facebook’s spending is still focused on its core business, adding infrastructure and things like data centers.

“Those are part of the investment portfolio, those long-term innovation initiatives, but the bulk of our spend is really focused on the core stuff,” he said.

Facebook also reported 1.55 billion total users, the first time that is has officially crossed the 1.5 billion user threshold (it came close last quarter at 1.49 billion). Roughly 1.01 billion of those people visit Facebook every single day, the first time it has averaged more than a billion daily users over an entire quarter.

Facebook’s dominance in attracting audiences stands in stark contrast to the declines in traditional TV companies like Time Warner, 21st Century Fox, CBS and Viacom, all of which have been hit by ratings declines and a drop in pay TV subscribers. While people aren’t necessarily forsaking television in favor of social media the rise in one media over the other shows the sharp shift in media habits: from TV to digital, desktop to mobile, passive to participatory, influencing where advertisers spend their dollars.

Some analysts were hopeful Facebook would share revenue figures around Instagram. It didn’t, and apparently has no plans to do so in the near future, according to Wehner. When asked if Facebook is waiting for some kind of tipping point before sharing those numbers, Wehner simply replied, “Not specifically, no.”

Facebook’s stock was up more than 3 percent early in after-hours trading.

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