Facebook revenues climb as ad sales soar during lockdowns

06:54, 29 April 2021

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook revenues soared in the first quarter as advertising prices rose thanks to strong demand for its services during the COVID-19-related lockdowns across the globe.

Total revenues for the January-March quarter of 2021 rose to $26.2bn, from $17.7bn in the same period a year ago, and beat Wall Street consensus estimates of $23.7bn.

The social media website said its advertising revenue growth was driven by a 30% year-on-year increase in the average price an advert and a 12% increase in the number of ads delivered.

Weaker outlook

Chief financial officer David Wehner said that the company expected advertising revenue growth to be primarily driven by price during the rest of 2021 as people’s lives return to some kind of normality.

While he expects total revenue growth to accelerate modestly in the second quarter as it “laps slower growth related to the pandemic” during the same period a year ago, the third and fourth quarters are expected to significantly decelerate as they compare with periods of increasingly strong growth periods from a year ago.

Other financial highlights

Advertising revenues accounted for $25.4bn of the $26.2bn total and net profit after expenses for the quarter was $9.5bn up 94% from the $4.9bn reported in the same quarter of 2020 – which also exceeded consensus forecasts of $6.8bn.

Diluted earnings a share were $3.30, up from $1.71 a year ago, which beat forecasts of $2.34 a share.

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Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said: “We had a strong quarter as we helped people stay connected and businesses grow. We will continue to invest aggressively to deliver new and meaningful experiences for years to come, including in newer areas like augmented and virtual reality, commerce, and the creator economy.”

Shares in Facebook were up 7.1% at $307.10 in pre-market trade in New York.

Read more: Facebook stock forecast for 2021: is now a good time to buy FB shares?

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