Facebook's Ad Blocking Fight Helps Boost Q3 Ad Revenue

As expected, Facebook enjoyed dramatic revenue growth in the third quarter on the strength of its massive mobile user base.

Ad revenue grew 57% year over year to $6.8 billion. Mobile ad revenue accounted for 84% of that figure, or $5.7 billion, up from 78% one year ago. Read the earnings release.

The company's desktop ad business got a surprise boost from its efforts to counter ad blockers, said CFO David Wehner [AdExchanger coverage], with revenue growing 18% faster than in other recent quarters, largely thanks to that push.

Total impression volume grew 50% for the quarter, driven primarily by mobile feed ads on both Facebook and Instagram.

Wehner expects revenue growth rates to fall in Q4 as the company laps a strong year. And he reiterated that increases in ad load will play a smaller role in driving revenue growth by the middle of the 2017. When that happens, he said, "We expect to see ad revenue growth rates come down meaningfully."

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CEO Mark Zuckerberg also detailed plans to increase business utility of its messaging apps, Messenger and WhatsApp. Under Facebook's framework, he noted three phases of growth and monetization for platforms: 1) Drive adoption. 2) Help people interact with businesses and other public institutions. 3) Add paid products to increase business visibility.

He said Messenger is well into the second phase, with 33,000 businesses and other institutions live on the platform. He did not offer a timetable for monetization, but did say Messenger is already letting businesses begin interactions in the news feed that open up in Messenger. He said such interactions "will be pretty meaningful in the next few years."

From an audience standpoint, active users surged globally as growth slowed in the mature US and Canada markets. Mobile daily active users grew 22% compared to Q3 2015, surpassing 1 billion. Monthly active users, meanwhile, are approaching 2 billion, having grown 16% year over year.

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