Facebook tops Q1 estimates as ad prices rise

Facebook on Wednesday delivered strong first quarter financial results, largely due to the rising price of ads. 

The social media site collects the vast majority of its revenues from ad sales, and the average price per ad in Q1 increased by 30 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, the number of ads delivered in the quarter grew by 12 percent year-over-year. 

“We expect that advertising revenue growth will continue to be primarily driven by price during the rest of 2021,” CFO Dave Wehner said in a statement. 


All told, Facebook’s Q1 net income came to $9.5 billion, with earnings of $3.30 per diluted share. Revenue came to $26.17 billion, up 48 percent year-over-year. 

Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.37 on revenue of $23.67 billion. 

Advertising revenue for the quarter was $25.44 billion, up 46 percent. “Other” revenue totaled 732 million, up 146 percent.

“We had a strong quarter as we helped people stay connected and businesses grow,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “We will continue to invest aggressively to deliver new and meaningful experiences for years to come, including in newer areas like augmented and virtual reality, commerce, and the creator economy.”

Facebook’s daily active users were 1.88 billion on average for March 2021, an increase of 8 percent year-over-year. Its monthly active users totaled 2.85 billion as of March 31, an increase of 10 percent year-over-year.

The number of people active daily on at least one of Facebook’s products — including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp — was 2.72 billion on average for March, an increase of 15 percent year-over-year. Monthly active people for Facebook’s “family” of products was 3.45 billion as of March 31, an increase of 15 percent year-over-year.


Facebook grew its headcount by 26 percent compared to the year prior, with 60,654 employees as of March 31.

While ad sales are booming for Facebook, Wehner said the company continues to expect “increased ad targeting headwinds in 2021 from regulatory and platform changes, notably the recently-launched iOS 14.5 update.” Apple’s mobile OS update should begin having an impact on Facebook’s business in Q2, Wehner said.

Earlier this week, Apple officially released iOS 14.5 or iPadOS 14.5 for all iPhone and iPad users. Facebook has complained about the new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature, which requires app developers to get permission from a user in order to track their activity across other apps and websites when using an iPhone or iPad. 

Meanwhile, Wehner said there is also “continuing uncertainty around the viability of transatlantic data transfers in light of recent European regulatory developments.”

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