Down the line this could see the emergence of the news reader app that Facebook's expected to launch, as well as more tools to share publicly, like Twitter. Facebook says that separate apps are working so far: Facebook Messenger has seen 70 percent growth over the last three months, while Instagram Direct offers new ways to share with individuals and groups.
In a related announcement, Thursday Facebook announced its highly-anticipated News Reader app called 'Paper,' which will be available for the iPhone in the US on February 3rd. It combines users' Facebook news feed with a choice of more than a dozen other sections on subject matter ranging from sports, to science, to design. It's already drawn rave reviews for its full-screen photos and auto play ads—it looks a bit like private news reader app Flipboard. And for now at least, there are no ads.
This past quarter was a tipping point for Facebook on the mobile front; for the first time more than half its advertising revenue—53 percent – came from mobile, while its mobile daily active users grew 49 percent from a year earlier to 556 million people. This was also the first time that Facebook reported over $1 billion in mobile revenue.
CFO David Ebersman said that the number of ads that Facebook is showing is down, because there are fewer ads on mobile devices. However, Facebook is able to charge more for mobile ads. Graph search, which has not yet launched on mobile devices, could be another source of revenue in the future.
(Read more: Facebook beats; stock jumps)
COO Sheryl Sandberg explained some ways that mobile usage growth could spell massive advertising growth. "When people are shopping in stores they are on their phones and when they are on their phones they are on Facebook," Sandberg said.
"A recent study by Miller Brown digital showed that while shopping in the store people who use Facebook do so at four times the rate of any other [app]. And for those people that use Facebook as a source for shopping over have stated that it was a very influential source of information for them while they were shopping in the store," she added.