Facebook engagement jumped this past quarter as more people turned to social media to discuss the polarizing U.S. election, said Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein, who cited third-party data.
"While there wasn't direct revenue from the presidential electoral spending, we think all the controversy about the election caused a massive increase in time spent on the platform and they turned around and sold that time to other advertisers," he said.
The company reported earnings per share of $1.41 and revenue of $8.81 billion — handily beating analyst expectations — and grew ad revenue 53 percent in the December quarter.
Facebook jumped on the opportunity to serve users more ads, though the company raised ad pricing just 3 percent, he noted.
"Which is why we're still bullish, because ultimately this is an auction model and it means that demand is actually behind the supply," said Helfstein.