Shares of Facebook climbed to a record during extended trading Wednesday, after the company crushed analysts' revenue estimates, Financial Times reported Thursday.
Facebook's first quarter revenues grew 48% to $26.1 billion, surpassing Wall Street's expectations of $23.7 billion, while its net income for the same period almost doubled to $9.5 billion or $3.30 per share - well above average estimates of $2.33 a share and almost double the income of almost $5 billion in the first quarter of 2020, the company said.
Facebook's strongest first quarter earnings are the result of surging advertising sales despite rising competition from the likes of Google and pressure from the regulatory front. The company's ad business was propelled by a 30% increase in average price per ad placed on its platform and a 12% surge in ad impressions.
The Menlo Park, California-based social network company said it expects its revenue growth to accelerate modestly in the second quarter this year, compared with a slower growth a year prior because of the ongoing global health crisis.
According to CNBC, Facebook is bracing for "ad targeting headwinds" as a result of regulatory challenges. This includes Apple's recent privacy update in iOS 14 that could make it more difficult for Facebook to personalize ads for iPhone and iPad users.
Despite this, Facebook chief financial officer David Wehner remains optimistic, saying they expect that advertising revenue growth "will continue to be primarily driven by price during the rest of 2021," FT reported. Facebook's shares rose 6.4% following the news, hitting a record of more than $326.
Facebook's monthly active users increased to around 50 million, meaning a record-smashing 2.85 billion people used the social network in the last month of the quarter, Forbes said.
Meanwhile, analysts project Facebook shares can hit the vaunted $341.50 level over the next year, according to Bloomberg data, giving the stock around 11% upside to Wednesday's closing price of $307.