On July 2, Facebook stock was under $25. Today, a week after Facebook reported strong earnings and massive mobile ad sales, the world’s preeminent social network is in the the $37-$38 range, occasionally peeking over the symbolic $38 barrier it debuted at.
That’s an astounding jump of $32 billion in company valuation in just 29 days. And if you look at the dark days of September, when the stock price hit a low of under $18, that’s a massive $48 billion explosion in just 10 months.
In other words, Facebook has more than doubled in value in under a year.
Facebook’s initial IPO was riddled with controversy. The company didn’t make any money in mobile, and it tried to obscure that damning fact. Eventually, Facebook added a disclaimer about mobile risk to its prospectus only days before the company went public. With that and other glitches, FB was nearly the worst IPO in a decade, and this didn’t boost above its offer price — a mark of pride for most companies that go public — and failed to recover its initial price for 14 long months.
Shortly, however, that will all be behind Facebook.
There’s nothing like reporting record earnings, and there’s also nothing like absolutely killing it in mobile, recording 41 percent of your revenue in a category that you had zero revenue in just a short year ago.
But it’s Facebook’s future prospects that has Wall Street all hot and bothered:
“Soon, we’ll have more revenue on mobile than on desktop,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts.
That’s a big deal. And not just for Facebook.
“Every single year we’ve heard people say ‘This is the year of mobile,” Nanigans SVP Dan Slagen told me two days ago. “But this is the first time we’ve seen someone come forward and put forward the kind of number that Facebook did.”
And it happened in a quarter that saw Google — Facebook’s prime competition for online advertising dollars — sink a little in mobile. Together, the two online ad giants account for 70 percent of global mobile ad revenues, with Google projected to pull in almost $9 billion on mobile in 2013, and the younger upstart Facebook pulling in just over $2 billion. But at its current rate of growth, that split could be much more even in just a few years.
Facebook has accomplished that by working hard to be accessible and useful for small business — the company has over a million individual advertisers. And Facebook has accomplished it by building innovative and at times controversial ad products right in users’ news feeds that have increased clickthrough rates for advertisers by an astounding 49 times over the network’s initial sidebar ads.
There’s got to be a lot of high-fiving at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park today. Or at least the occasional smile of quiet satisfaction, as the company has proved what internally, most have already known: Facebook is on the right track.