Facebook Posts First Ever $1 Billion Quarter in Profits

Advertisers continue to pour into the world’s biggest social network, lifting sales and profit above expectations

Advertisers appear to be as hooked on Facebook as the 1 billion consumers who check it everyday, as social network’s leap in revenue and greater restraint on spending delivered its first $1 billion quarter.

Both revenue and profit for the fourth quarter beat Wall Street expectations on Wednesday.

Shares climbed 7.3 percent to $101.31 in recent after-hours trading.

The report by Facebook, the biggest social network in the world by users, caps a year marked by an aggressive push into video, motivated by the lucrative rates that online video ads command. Facebook also widened its ad options, such as letter brands and agencies stick more spots on its photo-sharing app Instagram.

Earlier in 2015, Facebook spent its money as quickly as it earned it — sometimes even faster. But its expense growth cooled in the fourth quarter, helping to boost its quarterly bottom line above $1 billion for the first time.

The number of people who check Facebook at least once a month rose to 1.59 billion in the latest period, up from 1.55 billion three months earlier.

In the latest period, Facebook reported a profit of $1.56 billion, or 54 cents a share, up from $696 million, or 25 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue jumped 52 percent to $5.84 billion.

Excluding unusual items, earnings were 79 cents a share.

Analysts on average were expecting 68 cents a share on $5.37 billion in revenue.