We're doing this by focusing on three key priorities: "helping businesses leverage the power of mobile, developing innovative ad products, and making our ads more relevant and effective". Instagram is also emerging as a major cash cow with over 500,000 advertisers.

"We had a good start to 2017", founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. Those ad breaks could wind up fetching more money per ad for Facebook than the news feed ads now going unseen, which might mean that Facebook could eventually even reduce the number of standard news feed ads to avoid feeling like Fox-era MySpace. Moreover, as the company continues to ramp up investments, costs will escalate.

Facebook's latest data suggests the company will now have to work harder to maintain the type of growth that has caused investors to push its shares up 30 percent this year.

Messenger Day - the stories feature in Messenger - opens the door for near-term monetization, but ultimately Facebook wants to increase interactions between users and businesses on both Messenger and WhatsApp.

Facebook added 80 million users in the first quarter, giving the service a total of 1.94 billion who frequent it at least once a month and a big boost in its ambitions to soak up billions more users around the globe.

Meanwhile, the number of people using Facebook monthly increased 17 percent to 1.94 billion, according to the earnings report.

Overall advertising revenue for the quarter was up 51% year on year to $7.9bn, but chief financial officer David Wehner warned that Facebook was hitting a limit on the number of ads it could carry.

Revenue in the first quarter to 31 March increased 49% to more than US$8 billion, beating analysts expectations. As most followers of Facebook stock will know, user growth and average revenue per user are important drivers of Facebook's growth.

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Facebook is in the home stretch to reaching the two billion user mark.

After dropping in initial trade after the numbers came out, FB stock rebounded back over $152 per share as investors saw the initial miss as a buying opportunity. However, robust revenue growth provided enough cushion to operating margins.

Facebook exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $32.3 billion.

EPS (GAAP): $1.04 vs. $0.87 expected, up 73% from the year-ago period. Free cash flow was $3.8 billion compared with $2.3 billion in the year-ago quarter.

In the last couple of quarters, Facebook has been warning that growth would slow "meaningfully" by the second half of this year as the company laps rapid growth last year and also reduces the ad load on its site.

On Thursday, January 5th, Sheryl Sandberg sold 109,000 shares of Facebook stock. But the analysts lowered estimates for near-term revenue, to $38.7 billion from $40.8 billion, as those initiatives may take time to make an impact.

But that slowdown hasn't arrived yet, at least not in the way those outside the company expected.


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