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Facebook About to Get Facetime—With Investors

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Face-to-face with investors: That’s how it will be for social media giant Facebook, which is set to report quarterly earnings Wednesday after the market closes.

The number that really matters now, according to Scott Kessler, senior analyst at S&P Capital IQ, is ad revenue, and in particular, mobile ad revenue.

Overall revenue is expected to reach $1.4 billion, up from $1.1 billion, with mobile accounting for about one quarter of that. Kessler expects that percentage to rise going forward.

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According to Kessler, it pays for Facebook to put its focus on mobile. There were about 680 million mobile Facebook users as of the end of last year, and 157 million “mobile-only” users, which is more than any other social network. Those numbers are parlaying into substantial growth in mobile ad revenue. As recently as March of 2012, Facebook said it wasn't making "any meaningful revenue" from mobile. In the third quarter, when the company first disclosed mobile ad revenue, that total came in at $125 million. It jumped to $300 million in the fourth quarter.

Though social advertising is in its infancy, Kessler says the company’s recent comments indicate that it won’t be aggressive about monetizing new ad products. It’s trying to strike that delicate balance of not overwhelming or losing viewers with too many ads.

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