Facebook shares jump after 2013 financial results

The social giant's shares jump to US$62 on the back of record profits, while Zuckerberg lays out ambitious plans for the company.

Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Nic Healey
3 min read

Facebook's impressive 2013 financial results catapulted the company's shares to above US$62.

Paper is part of a key app strategy for Facebook. (Credit: Facebook)

At US$62.28 the social media monolith's shares were at a 52-week high. The excitement has slowed somewhat, with share prices at US$61.08 at the time of writing.

The demand came after Facebook once again revealed a strong financial year. Revenue was up to US$7.9 billion, ahead of the US$5.1 billion posted in 2012.

More importantly, profit was up — the company made US$1.5 billion in 2013, significantly up from US$53 million the year before.

More than 1.23 billion people are using Facebook each month, with the company up 16 per cent year-over-year in monthly average users and 22 per cent in daily active users.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the earnings call to reveal his three-, five- and 10-year plans for Facebook:

"Internally, we talk about our strategy, and there's a three-year strategy, a five-year strategy, and a 10-year strategy," he said. "And the 3-year plan is really all about building new kinds of experiences for sharing, like so many of the questions on this call have been about. The 5-year approach is really mostly about helping people use their network to answer interesting questions or solve problems that they have. And that's where all the Graph Search work and the Open Graph work and some of the early parts of the AI work that we're doing you're going to start to see over that period of time. And then over a 10-year period, I think you'll really start to see a lot of the impact of some of the Internet.org work that we're doing, where hopefully we'll see some impact a lot sooner than that as well."

In terms of short goals, Facebook expects to see its Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) drmamatically increase within the next three years.

Facebook is also moving away from a single app to a suite of separate mobile apps that can drive a deeper experience for users.

"In terms of the focus on building new and separate experiences, our theory is that there are all these different ways that people want to share and communicate. Almost any kind of content that you can imagine sharing: text, photos, videos, links, locations, events, games — any type of content, with any type of audience. You know, whether it's privately in a one-on-one situation, or small groups, or with all of your friends, or a larger community, or publicly," Zuckerberg said.

Case in point, Facebook has revealed a Flipboard-like reader app called Paper. Paper joins Messenger as a standalone app and helps set the ground work for a standalone version of Graph Search.

Finally, the aforementioned Internet.org project is a mainstay of Facebook's 10-year plan. This ambition effort wants to bring internet connectivity to the remaining two thirds of the planet who aren't on Facebook yet.

"If we can get a lot more of the world on the Internet, I think that's going to really mean a quite different world in terms of what folks in a lot of developing countries have access to... around basic financial services, and people can get credit to start businesses and buy homes — really life-changing stuff — or get access to health information or education materials, which I think are just a really big deal", said Zuckerberg. "And over the long term, we've always wanted to help out with that, and I think that's where we're going to go on that."