Minutes spent on Facebook

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) got some good news on Friday last week, and Monday of this week. On Friday after the close, comScore reported strong US mobile data for December. This suggests that higher ad loads are not hurting user engagement, which is very bullish.

Meanwhile, total US minutes spent on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) accelerated month over month (M/M) to record levels, according to a research note publish by Oppenheimer on Monday January 21st. US mobile minutes increased 15% M/M, an acceleration from +12% M/M in November and +6% in October. Total usage (mobile + desktop) increased 13% M/M, an acceleration from +3% in November and +1% in October. Mobile now accounts for 55% of US Facebook usage vs. 54% in November and 50% in October.

We detail the report from comScore and why its really good news Facebook:

Mobile usage accelerates to record levels

US mobile minutes increased 15% M/M in Dec. vs. +12% in Nov. and +6% in Oct. Mobile now accounts for 55% of US Facebook usage vs. 54% in Nov. and 50% in Oct. Mobile minutes increased 28% sequentially in 4Q vs. 25% in 3Q.

Suggests higher ad loads are not hurting engagement

The December data can be seen as ‘proof’ that higher mobile ad loads are not annoying users. Assuming this is true, there is
no evidence of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) user fatigue.

Users are spending more time on Facebook

Total usage (Mobile + Desktop) +13% M/M, an acceleration from +3% in Nov. and +1% in Oct. Total minutes +3% sequentially in 4Q vs. +10% in 3Q. While 4Q represented a deceleration, note that comScore data does not measure tablet usage, which is increasing with lower priced tablets.

Mobile monetization remains a wild card

Oppenheimer believes that this is all good news, but mobile is still a concern for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). They currently estimate 4Q US mobile revenue per hour of $0.10 vs. $0.07 in 3Q, or an improvement of 45% Q/Q.  They conservatively estimate monetization remains flat in 1Q:13. As Oppenheimer has no way to track mobile pricing or ad volume, the analysts believe that these estimates are extremely conservative.