September 6, 2012

Twitter Outpaces Facebook On Mobile Ads, For Now

Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

This year mobile ad revenues for Twitter will beat those of its larger social networking competitor, Facebook. This lead will reverse by the end of next year, according to a report by eMarketer.

Estimated earnings for the 2012 year are $129.7 million for Twitter, compared to $72.7 million for Facebook. This is the fist year that eMarketer began tracking both sites for mobile ad revenues. It's likely Twitter's lead comes from a head start in mobile ads. Facebook started its Premium advertisements, which appear in the newsfeed for both mobile and desktop versions, this year.

In the next few years Facebook ad revenues for its mobile offering are expected to accelerate. eMarketer forecasts that revenues will grow from this year's projected $72.7 million to $387 million in 2013 and $629.4 million the following year. Twitter income from the mobile channel will be swift, but isn't expected to keep up with Facebook. Twitter's mobile ad revenue will grow from the projected $129.7 million by year end to $272.6 million in 2013 and $444.1 million in 2014.

Google and Pandora currently sit ahead of Twitter for mobile ad revenues. In 2012 Google is expected to earn $1.4 billion for the channel, and Pandora will earn $226.4 million. Both properties have longer experience in advertising on the mobile platform.

"Both companies earn far less mobile revenue than companies with more established mobile ad platforms like Google and Pandora, though growth in mobile revenues at both social networks is expected to remain high throughout the forecast period," the report reads.

It is believed that Google will keep its lead by a wide margin. The search giant is forecast to see mobile ad revenues of $3.6 billion by 2013.

Twitter is currently doing better than Apple's iAd platform, which is estimated to make $75.1 million in mobile ad revenues this year. Next year, iAd is forecast to make $103 million in mobile ad revenues, which will put it far behind Facebook, Twitter and other competitors in the mobile advertising space.

It may take until 2014, the edge of the forecast, for Facebook to overtake Pandora in mobile ad revenues. The music service is expected to earn $499.1 million in 2014 from the mobile platform.

Internet properties are feeling pressure to monetize the mobile platform. Social game developer Zynga is pulling back from creating games on Facebook so it can concentrate more on mobile, which is sees as a more popular platform. Zynga is not alone in making the mobile platform work.

"The increasing focus on mobile by both Twitter and Facebook, as well as other major digital advertising publishers, will contribute to growth in the overall US mobile advertising market, which eMarketer estimates will reach $2.61 billion this year. By 2016, the U.S. mobile advertising market is expected to near $12 billion," that's according to the eMarketer report.

Twitter ad revenues are higher in mobile than desktop, the report suggests. "As users increasingly access Twitter via mobile devices, eMarketer believes that the tight integration between the company's ad products - particularly Promoted Tweets - and core user experience has made the subsequent shift toward displaying mobile advertisements relatively simple," the report says. "Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has reported that, on most days, the service generates more ad revenues from users on mobile devices than it does from viewers of Twitter.com."