The company posted a 48% jump in quarterly revenue to $26.17 billion. Net income grew 94% to $9.5 billion, or $3.30 per share. That was up from $4.9 billion, or $1.71 per share, a year ago.
Analysts polled by FactSet expected revenue of $23.73 billion and earnings of $2.35 per share.
Facebook credited its revenue jump to the average price per ad, which shot up 30% year-on-year, and the number of ad impressions, which rose 12%. The company said it expects advertising revenue growth will continue to be primarily driven by price during the rest of 2021.
Monthly active users reached 2.85 billion in March, up 10% from last year. Total users within its family of apps – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – had monthly users of 3.45 billion.
The social-media firm transitioned during the pandemic to focus more strongly on its involvement in shopping, said Martin Garner, chief operating officer at analyst firm CCS Insight.
“This is working: each month now sees over a million Facebook Shops active, more than 250 million visitors to Facebook Shops and over one billion users of Marketplace,” he said. “The company plans to make its money from the advertising involved in shopping, rather than by charging the sellers transaction fees.”
Facebook also said it expects increased “ad targeting headwinds” in 2021 from regulatory and platform changes, most notably including Apple’s recent iOS 14.5 update. Apple’s update is expected to begin having an impact on Facebook’s ad targeting in the second quarter.
“Facebook’s hugely public war with Apple over app-tracking transparency (now being introduced with iOS 14.5) showed through in several barbed comments during the earnings call,” Garner said.
It “needs to be super careful with its messaging here. The company has used its client base of smaller companies – and the way they cannot afford big advertising budgets – as its main argument in pushing back against Apple, to justify collecting people’s data to enable personalized ads. At the same time its own prices have risen 30% for those companies,” he said.
Shares in Facebook closed at $307.10 per share on Wednesday, but were trading 7% higher at $328.85 per share ahead of Thursday’s market open.