Twitter may have a ways to go until it matches Facebook’s valuation, but at least in one crucial segment — mobile advertising — it appears to be besting its larger rival.
A report from eMarketer estimates that Twitter will hit $129.7 million in U.S. mobile ad revenues this year compared to $72 million for Facebook.
However, Twitter’s advantage in the mobile ad space won’t last for long. According to eMarketer’s predictions, Facebook’s ad revenue will grow five-fold to $387 million in 2013, beating Twitter’s take by more than $100 million. This would make Facebook the second highest mobile ad earner behind Google.
eMarketer’s predictions offer some hope for investors who are concerned about whether Facebook will figure out its mobile advertising strategy. As the research firm points out in the report, Facebook only launched its first mobile ad units in June and still has plenty of room to grow.
“Mobile is a long-term play for Facebook, and by next year, eMarketer expects the social networking giant to beat out Twitter by a significant margin, taking in $387 million on mobile in the US.,” the firm wrote in its report. Concerns about Facebook’s ability to monetize its platform as users shift to mobile has bedeviled the company’s IPO. The company’s stock has fallen about 50% since it went public in May. However Facebook’s current $41 billion market cap is still more than four times that of Twitter’s.
Despite investor skepticism, both Facebook and Twitter have already seen some promise in their early mobile advertising efforts. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo noted earlier this year that the company has generated more revenue from mobile ads than desktop ads on certain days. Meanwhile, a report in June found that Facebook’s mobile ads earn two and a half times more than desktop ads.
Overall, eMarketer predicts the mobile advertising market will hit $2.61 billion this year in the U.S. and grow to a $12 billion industry in 2016 due largely to companies like Facebook and Twitter.