Facebook racked up $1.86 billion in 2010 ad sales, which are expected to reach $4 billion in 2011. Each year brings Facebook one step closer to seeing Google-type tallies of $6 billion a quarter.
Facebook led the market in
social-network advertising in 2010, racking up $1.86 billion of the ad revenues
in the U.S. and abroad, thanks to its massive network of 600 million-plus
Facebook will bolster its
market-leading position in 2011, growing ad sales nearly 28 percent to hit $4
billion worldwide, eMarketer
said Jan. 18.
The breakdown is fairly
even: $2.19 billion in the United States and $1.86 billion overseas, meaning
the social network's prospects are bright around the globe.
The projected $4 billion in
ad revenues is impressive for a social network that a few years ago struggled
to formulate a business model without infringing on user privacy.
The figure still appears
lean, compared with Google, which rakes in some $6 billion in ad revenues in a single
quarter. But Google's quarterly ad revenues have leveled off to between $5 billion
and $6 billion the last few years.
EMarketer's report comes two
days before Google will report fourth-quarter earnings. Wall Street analysts
expect Google to report net revenues of $6.05 billion and earnings per share of
That's still far and away
more than any ad purveyor, but financial analysts emphasize that Google's
growth has slowed.
Meanwhile Facebook's ad
growth is nothing short of meteoric: $740 million in 2009, $1.86 billion in
2010 and $4 billion expected for 2011.
"2010 was the year that
Facebook firmly established itself as a major force, not only in social-network
advertising, but all of online advertising," said eMarketer analyst Debra
Aho Williamson. "In 2011, its global presence is something multinational
advertisers can't ignore."
"If Facebook can
continue to increase its global user base and boost the amount of revenue it
generates per user, it could even surpass these forecasts," Williamson
Williamson said she expects
Facebook's 2012 ad revenues to approach $5.76 billion, which seems
Given Facebook's current
growth trajectory and an average user engagement of 20 minutes per day seeing
social ads, it might not be a stretch to presume Facebook could post $8 billion
in ad revenues-double the expected 2011 total-in 2012.
People are visiting Facebook
and spending more time there than they are at Google, according to researchers.
U.S. Web users in August spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook, compared with
39.8 million minutes on all of Google's Websites combined, including YouTube,
Gmail and other properties.
Facebook accounted for 8.93
percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2010, with Google.com
notching 7.19 percent of visits, according
Bottom line: Facebook is
eclipsing Google in several user-engagement categories. It will be interesting
to see how Google responds in 2011.