Updated from 9:52 a.m. EST to include thoughts from Topeka Capital Markets analyst.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If there were any concerns about Facebook's (FB) mobile advertising revenue, those concerns can be put to bed.
Faceboook reported fourth-quarter earnings that surged past Wall Street estimates, as the world's largest social network earned 31 cents a share on $2.59 billion in sales. Facebook is now firmly an advertising giant, with revenue from ads surging 76% year over year to $2.34 billion. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Facebook's mobile ad revenue now generates over $1 billion in revenue per quarter ($1.24 billion this past quarter), despite having only just become a part of the company's business some 8 quarters ago.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for 27 cents a share on $2.33 billion in revenue.
Facebook shares were surging in early Thursday trading, gaining 15.9% to $62.05.
FB data by YCharts
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network was exceptionally confident regarding the results and the future, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about the company's long-term plans on the conference call. "Our plan is to continue focusing on improving quality, since we think this is the best way for us to improve the experience for people on Facebook, returns for advertisers, and our own revenue, as well as achieving our long term goal of providing ads that are as relevant as organic content," Zuckerberg said on the call.
Zuckerberg also said 2014 will be a year for new and engaging mobile experiences. We've already seen some of that, as the company unveiled Paper this morning, "a new app that helps you explore and share stories from friends and the world around you."
Facebook ended the quarter with 1.23 billion monthly active users (MAUs) and with more than 757 million daily active users (DAUs), up 22% year over year. Though the company did not address concerns about teens fleeing the service, CFO David Ebersman noted photo sharing social network Instagram, which the company owns, has seen its user base double over the past year. Facebook ended the quarter with 945 million MAUs, including 556 million DAUs, up 49% year over year.
Analysts by and large were supremely positive on the quarter, with several raising price targets sharply. Here's what a few analysts had to say:
JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth (Overweight, $80 PT)
"Facebook reported strong 4Q revenue growth along with significant improvement in margin as advertiser demand for social ads continues to build. The company delivered revenue and EBITDA 10% and 20% above our estimates and concerns about what Facebook would say on teen engagement, ad load increases, and opex growth did not play out."
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