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5 things we learned from Facebook’s earning report

The social networking giant brought in US$2.9 billion in total profits for the year, almost double the total in 2013. Joerg Koch / The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Facebook reported fourth quarter earnings of US$701 million Wednesday – a 34 per cent increase from the previous year – surpassing analyst expectations.

The social networking giant brought in US$2.9 billion in total profits for the year, almost double the total in 2013.

“We got a lot done in 2014. Our community continues to grow and we’re making progress towards connecting the world,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement.

Zuckerberg and his team discussed the quarterly report with analysts Wednesday during a conference call. Here is a look at some of the things we learned:

Mobile use is big business

Facebook had 1.19 billion mobile monthly active users in the final quarter of 2014 – that works out to more than 85 per cent of its total users.

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But if you think those are big numbers, consider this – mobile accounted for 69 per cent of the company’s $3.59 billion of advertising revenue in the quarter. That’s an increase of 53 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

Its user base continues to grow, despite reports it’s reached its peak

Although there have been several reports citing un-enthusiastic teens as the source of major losses to its audience, Facebook’s numbers show it’s still relevant.

1.39 billion people now use Facebook each month and 890 million people daily, an increase of active and 133 million daily active this year,” Zuckerberg told analysts during the conference call.

“Time spent per person per day across our services continue to rise, growing this quarter by more [than] 10 per cent compared to last year and that doesn’t even include WhatsApp, which joined us late last year.”

Video is big on Facebook

One of the most impressive stats Zuckerberg offered up during the conference call was a new milestone for video on the social network.

Users now reach an average of over three billion video views per day on the site. That’s up from an average of one billion views in September 2014. Sixty-five per cent of video views occur on mobile devices.

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Keep in mind that Facebook garnered a lot of criticism last year for introducing a feature that auto-played videos in users’ newsfeeds. Later, the social network added the option for users to turn auto play off.

Zuckerberg is still determined to get unconnected countries online

When faced with questions regarding his efforts to bring the Internet to poorer, unconnected countries, Zuckerberg reiterated sentiments that part of Facebook’s mission is to connect people.

“This is why we’re here,” he said. “We are here because our mission is to connect the world, and I just think it’s really important than investors know that.”

READ MORE: How Facebook plans to use drones to connect the entire world to the web

Zuckerberg added that providing Internet access to third world countries could be a good investment for Facebook; however, he admitted he doesn’t know how or when that would happen.

“If we were only focused on making money we might put all of our energy on just increasing ads to people in the U.S. and the other most developed countries,” he said. “But that’s not the only thing that we care about here.”

Search may be Facebook’s next big money maker

Facebook’s search functions have been a controversial topic for many users. In 2013, the introduction of “Graph Search” was criticized for being “too creepy” and caused many users to crackdown on their privacy settings.

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But during the conference call Zuckerberg described search as “another important effort that we expect to create a lot of value over the next few years.”

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