Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

#DigitalSkeptic: Facebook Might Just Work for Investors After All

Tickers in this article: FB

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It figures that it would take a call from Tel Aviv to see how simple Facebook has become here at home.

"There really is no other option on mobile that rivals it in terms of targeting and conversions," Ari Rosenstein told me over the phone from Israel. Rosenstein is vice president for marketing at Adquant, a global mobile marketing company with offices in the northern part of that desert country.

Adquant, which just sold the media side of its business to an Israeli marketing firm called Matomy Media Group for an undisclosed sum, is one of Facebook's early so-called Preferred Marketing Developers. It acts as a sort of third-party reseller for the social media giant's business products. It customizes and resells them to drive revenue around the globe.

Facebook grants Rosenstein and his firm all sorts of access to what it does, which gives him an unusually intimate view of life behind the blue wall at the blazing social media giant.

"Facebook is simple at the end of the day," he explained. It offers an easy way for advertisers to match complex things such as conversion rates to marketing dollars, making tracking brand growth manageable.

"You can't do that with any random app, so there are times where Facebook runs out of ad inventory," he said. "And the prices they can charge rise. And that's why it is growing so fast."

Having just spent the better part of the weekend doing a throwback breakdown of the full Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook's Form 10-Q, filed with Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarterly period ending Sept. 30, I can say that Rosenstein might just be right.

Yes, major questions remain, but this pure-play Internet company has done what most can't: Grow revenues faster than expenses.

The simple road to positive net margins
There is a simple reason why Facebook's third quarter is worth a second investor look: efficiency. For the third three-month period in a row, the social media giant's net profit margins have increased. That is, for nearly a year now, after all those boring expenses were paid out, more pennies were left over from every dollar sold.