Facebook profits nearly tripled in the first quarter to $642m on a 72% surge in revenues, helped by strong gains in mobile users and mobile advertising.

Facebook said last night that advertising revenues on its huge social network were up 82% to $2.27 billion from a year ago..

This demonstrated that it is successfully following the shift from personal computers to mobile devices - which a year ago appeared to pose a huge challenge for the company.

Of that, earnings from mobile ads comprised 59% of the total. Mobile ads were less than one-third this time last year, and three months ago they were 53%.

Total revenue, which also include payments and fees, was up 72% year-on-year to $2.5 billion. Helped by a strong jump in operating margins, net profits rose from $219m to $642m.

Earnings per share came in at 25 cents, while operating earnings per share jumped to 34 cents, easily beating the 24 cents expected by analysts.

Facebook users continued to increase and shift over to mobile devices, underscoring the need for the company to grow its revenue there.

Total daily active users were up 21% from a year ago to 802 million, and of them mobile users totaled 609 million, a year-on-year gain of 43%.

Monthly active users meanwhile rose to 1.28 billion, one billion of them on mobile.

"Facebook's business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014," Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

"We've made some long-term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business. We're in great position to continue making progress towards our mission," he added.