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Zuck talks up mobile shift as Facebook money mill rolls on

Social network will get new CFO as Ebersman departs

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Facebook once again topped analyst forecasts with the delivery of a $2.5bn revenue quarter on the strength of a 72 per cent jump in revenues.

The company said that over the first quarter of 2014 it logged a total of $2.27bn in ad revenues with more than half of that haul coming from mobile ad displays. In total, ad revenues were up by 82 per cent over the same period last year.

Mobile accounted for 59 per cent of the company's ad revenue on the quarter, up from just 30 per cent of revenues in 2013. Mobile users were estimated at 609 million daily active users and 1.01 billion monthly active users, increases of 43 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively.

The jump comes despite a 17 per cent overall decline in ad impressions that the company attributes to the shift from display ads on desktops to sponsored newsfeed additions such as those used in the mobile Facebook interface.

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg noted that the price generated per ad display has gone up 188 per cent, suggesting that users are more apt to follow through on the newsfeed ads which are geared more towards their interests.

"Our goal is every time you open Facebook, every time you look at the newsfeed... you see something that genuinely delights you," Sandberg said. "I think we hit that more than we used to, but we still have a long way to go."

In announcing the numbers, CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that the company was preparing to expand into a number of new fields as it integrated the recently-acquired WhatsApp and Oculus and launched the Connectivity Lab project. The company also plans to pump as much as $2.5bn into capex over the course of the coming year.

Amidst the earnings report was the announcement that Facebook would be getting itself a new chief financial officer. Current CFO David Eberson will be stepping down from his role at the company and turning the CFO title over to corporate finance and business planning VP David Wehner on June 1.

"My decision is a personal one based on my desire to get back into health care," Eberson said of the move. "I have complete confidence in Dave and the rest of the team."

Eberson plans to fully transition out of the company by September of this year. ®

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