Updated from 10:08 a.m. to include information about privacy concerns.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB) shares were getting a boost as Evercore Partners upgraded shares, noting the recent pullback seemed like a good opportunity to buy, and the company's new mobile ad network could be a massive game changer for the company.
Analyst Ken Sena upgraded shares to "overweight," boosting the price target to $75 from $69, as Facebook monetizes its mobile initiatives and its 1 billion plus monthly active users (MAUs) better than anyone in the industry.
"In a nutshell, FB now monetizes mobile time spent to the tune of 9:1 the industry (x-Search) which supports the notion that FB can meaningfully increase the size of the mobile advertising pie (versus just taking share)," Sena wrote in a note. He highlighted four distinct advantages Facebook has for mobile advertising, including how large it is on deskto (Facebook has 1.28 billion monthly MAUs), the ability to cross-device log in to Facebook, how large it is on mobile, and native ad formats.
"The first three areas of advantage address an important mobile industry issue in tying mobile ad attribution to the individual and to desktop behavior," Sena penned in the note. "Meanwhile, native formats help make better use of a smaller mobile screen size where every pixel counts." Shares of Facebook were higher in early Thursday trading, gaining 0.56% to $60.83 on back of the upgrade. Though the world is increasingly turning to mobile devices, be it smartphones, tablets, or wearable technology, Facebook's size and scope on desktop is unparalleled, as it's the largest social network in the world and is getting larger by the day. Sena noted that this is one of Facebook's "most valuable attributes," and is perhaps the only thing that can tie-in to what Google (GOOG) does with search, helping it generate the type of revenue perhaps only those two companies can from advertising. Revenue for the first quarter of 2014 totaled $2.5 billion, up 72% year over year. First-quarter revenue of $2.36 billion was expected, according to Thomson ONE Analytics. Advertising revenue for the quarter was $2.27 billion, an 82% increase from the year-ago quarter, with mobile ad revenue representing about 59% of advertising revenue in the first quarter, up from about 30% of ad revenue the same time last year.
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