The growing contribution of mobile advertising revenue helped drive a healthy 77 per cent year-on-year rise in Facebook’s Q1 2017 profit.

Overall ad revenue during the quarter grew 51 per cent year-on-year to $7.9 billion, of which mobile accounted for about 85 per cent compared with 82 per cent a year earlier. Mobile ad revenue of $6.7 billion in the recent quarter was up 58 per cent year-on-year.

Facebook’s profit in Q1 hit $3.1 billion, while total revenue was $8 billion, up from $5.4 billion a year ago.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO (pictured), said the company “had a good start to 2017,” and will continue to “build tools to support a strong global community.”

COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company was focusing on helping businesses leverage the power of mobile, developing innovative ad products, and making ads more relevant and effective.

Over 70 million businesses use Facebook Pages on a monthly basis, and a growing number are becoming advertisers, she added.

Facebook recently announced over 5 million businesses are actively advertising on Facebook, including more than 1 million in emerging markets.

Sandberg also explained video is big when it comes to ads. A recent study commissioned by the company found 30 per cent of mobile shoppers said video is the best way to discover new products.

Slowing growth
CFO David Wehner explained growth in Facebook’s mobile ads business was driven by a “healthy supply and demand in apps.”

However, he said: “We continue to expect that our ad revenue growth rates will come down meaningfully over the course of 2017. We expect that ad loads will play a less significant factor in driving revenue growth after mid-2017.” Ad load refers to how many ads can be shown to users without upsetting them.

The social media giant revealed 1.94 billion people were using its service monthly as of 31 March, up 17 per cent from a year earlier, while subsidiary WhatsApp’s new Status feature garnered more than 175 million daily active users, after launching in mid-February.

This makes the feature, a clone of Snapchat Stories, bigger than Snapchat, much like Instagram Stories, which hit 200 million users in April.

Facebook revealed progress in developing technology to supply internet connections to areas with little coverage, announcing it recently simultaneously beamed 16GB of data in each direction between a ground location and a Cessna aircraft located 7 km away.

The technology will be used along with Aquila, a solar powered plane Facebook is developing, to plug coverage gaps globally.