Five key takeaways from Facebook’s upbeat earnings

Facebook (FB) reported better-than-consensus earnings late on Tuesday and its stock has jumped over 20% in today’s trading. Though the social network giant posted a loss of $59 million, analysts were largely upbeat about the performance. Here’s why:

Mobile — Facebook is making measurable progress developing mobile ad revenue, thanks to ad features it has developed for tablet computers and smart phones. Mobile active users were up 61% year-on-year as of September 30. Mobile generated about 14% of the site’s total ad revenue. The company is still light years behind Google (GOOG) in this realm, but it is making progress.

Zynga — In his conference call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg had some unflattering things to say about game developer Zynga (ZNGA), which just announced layoffs and the shutting down of several games. Zuckerberg said that Zynga made up 7% of its total revenue in the third quarter, down from 10% in the prior quarter, according to this report by Marketwatch.

Facebook Gifts — Zuckerberg’s foray into online retailing will be interesting to watch. The new feature allows Facebook users to send items to each other using a “gift” button and the company gets a cut of the sales. Facebook will never be Amazon, but this is a very promising revenue source given the scale of the social network site. The Wall Street Journal has a good summary of the feature and its prospects.

Key Metrics — Monthly active users hit 1.01 billion as of September 30, up 26% year-on-year. Daily active users clocked in at 584 million, up 28% over the same year. Facebook has $10.5 billion in cash and marketable securities.

Negatives: Third quarter costs and expenses shot up 64% to $885 million. (Stock-based compensation played a big role.) Operating margin was 30%, down from 43% in the third quarter of 2011. Facebook has lost more than $40 billion in market value since its IPO in May. Ouch!

And there’s a big old fat finger question out there.

Seeking Alpha has the conference call transcript, and here’s the Techmeme roundup of media responses. A graph of the results from Statista – that mobile advertising blue box in the first graphic is what has everyone so excited today:

You will find more statistics at Statista

Image: Mark Zuckerberg