Twitter Beats Facebook in Mobile Ads, but Google Dominates


At first glance, the most interesting fact in the new eMarketer study of mobile ads is that Twitter will get more revenue from this source in 2012 than Facebook will. The figure represents another example of Facebook Inc.'s (NASDAQ: FB) failure in the mobile business, a failure that has troubled investors. However, the most important data from the study show that Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) will dominate this part of the advertising industry for years. The newest medium cannot gain much ground on the medium that was "new" five years ago.

eMarketer pegs Twitter's mobile ad revenue at $129.7 million this year. The Facebook's figure is $72.7 million. Google's revenue for the year will be $1.423 billion out of a total measured market of $2.611 billion.

In 2014, Google will continue to have a substantial lead, with mobile revenue forecast to be $3.58 billion from a total market of $6.62 billion. Facebook's forecast revenue is $629.4 million. Twitter's will be $444.1 million. And, ahead of Twitter, Pandora's mobile sales will be $499.1 million.

The confusing and likely flawed forecasts show another reason that Wall St. probably will not drive up Facebook's shares. Even if eMarketer's projections are directionally correct, Facebook's mobile progress will be little better than modest. The company that was supposed to be the next Google will not be. Facebook will have stumbled in the sector that many investors think is the future of advertising. And an old world medium will continue to have dominant market share.

For every bad bit of news about Facebook, there are a few investors who say its situation cannot get worse. It has its 1 billion members. People spend inordinate amounts of time on the social network. But advertisers apparently do not think it is a terribly good place to put marketing messages. Now, research shows it never will be a great place to advertise - at least on the mobile platform that is supposed to be the future of the online marketing industry.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Internet, Media Tagged: FB, featured, GOOG