It was the fourth quarter in a row that Facebook beat forecasts as it continues to barrel ahead in mobile advertising at a time when nearly 80 percent of its users are accessing it on smartphones and other portable gadgets.

The world's biggest online social network said on Wednesday that it earned USD 642 million or 25 cents per share in the January-March quarter up from USD 219 million or 9 cents per share in the same period a year ago.

Adjusted earnings, which exclude stock compensation expenses and other costs, were USD 885 million or 34 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Facebook's revenue was USD 2.5 billion up 71 per cent from USD 1.46 billion in the same period a year ago.

Analysts on average were expecting adjusted earnings of 24 cents per share on revenue of USD 2.36 billion, according to a poll by FactSet.

Shares of Menlo Park, California-based Facebook climbed USD 2.34 or 3.8 percent to USD 63.71 in extended trading after the results came out. The stock had closed down USD 1.67 or 2.7 per cent at USD 61.36 amid a broader market decline.

There were 1.28 billion monthly Facebook users at the end of March up 15 percent from a year earlier. The number of users who log in every day increased 21 per cent to 802 million.

The number of Facebook users who log in at least once a month using mobile devices climbed 34 per cent to surpass 1 billion for the first time. Daily mobile users were 609 million up 43 per cent from a year ago.

Advertising revenue totalled USD 2.27 billion. Of this mobile advertising accounted for USD 1.34 billion, or 59 per cent. That's a bigger share than in the fourth quarter of 2013 the first time mobile accounted for more than half of Facebook's ad revenue, at 53 percent.

Facebook held a 6 percent share of worldwide digital ad revenues last year according to research firm eMarketer, which expects the company's share to grow to nearly 7 percent this year.

Google in comparison garnered 32 per cent of worldwide digital ad spending in 2013 and is expected to drop slightly to a fraction below that number by the end of 2014.

On the mobile front, Facebook accounted for nearly 15 percent of worldwide ad revenue and is expected to steal some of Google's share this year to grow to 22 percent.

In comparison, Google's share was 49 percent last year and is expected to drop to about 47 percent by 2014's end.

(Agencies)

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