So Mark Zuckerberg reckons Facebook’s a mobile company does he?

Well, just in case you haven’t heard, the social network has just released its latest financial figures accompanied by a statement in which Zuckerberg claimed that 2012 was the year that Facebook became a mobile company.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

To sum up briefly what’s been going on, the company has reported a massive decline in profits – down from $302 million in the final quarter of 2011 to just $64 million in the corresponding quarter of 2012.

It also reported that, out of a total of 1.1 billion daily users, 618 million were now accessing Facebook from their mobile phone every day, a figure that represents more than half (56%) of all active users.

The internet giant also said that income from mobile was now running at 23% of its total ad revenue, which altogether was up by 40% on the same period last year.

So against this muddled background of higher revenue, increasing mobile usage but, more significantly, falling profit Zuckerberg officially stated: “In 2012, we connected over a billion people and became a mobile company.

“We enter 2013 with good momentum and will continue to invest to achieve our mission and become a stronger, more valuable company.”

So was this a PR move to deflect attention away from the fact that profits are down or is there real substance behind what Zuckerberg was saying?

In fairness to Facebook we all know that, because of investment, restructuring and one-off costs, profits can fluctuate quite widely – even in the best of companies.

However, the idea that Facebook has redefined itself as a truly mobile company is something that many marketing professionals and city investors are going to find very hard to stomach.

Come on. You only have to look at the size of a mobile device, where screen estate is at a premium, to realise that Facebook is on a hiding to nothing if it thinks it can build a core business model around income from mobile advertising.

And the financial figures say it all. Even though more than half of users currently access the network from handheld devices, less than a quarter of Facebook’s revenue actually comes from mobile.

On top of this, mobile advertising also costs considerably more to service than traditional ads served up to desktop browsers.

And, as this is likely to be the case for some time to come, it’s difficult to see how Zuckerberg can rightfully claim that Facebook really is a mobile company.

Well, not in the foreseeable future anyway.

Do you think Facebook is now already a mobile company or do you agree with us? Let us know by leaving your own views in our comment section below.

About the author

Kevin is the principal contributor and longest-serving member of our blog-writing team. He also runs his own website copywriting business Write Online.