New estimates from eMarketer indicate Facebook is expected to take a leading 18 percent of net US mobile display advertising revenue during 2012. This gives Facebook a narrow lead on previous leader Google, who will still maintain a strong second place standing with 17 percent.

Other leading US mobile display advertising providers for 2012 include Pandora (12 percent), Twitter (7 percent) and Apple (6 percent). Interestingly, eMarketer sees Facebook’s US mobile display advertising share increasing to 25 percent next year while Google’s share also grows to 19 percent and then drops to 22 percent in 2014, allowing Google to overtake it again with a 23 percent share. 

Facebook Redistributes Revenue

eMarketer credits Facebook’s ability to “more or less redistribute revenue from mobile to desktop through its native display products” for its strong performance, while Google receives kudos for “the underlying strength of its AdMob network and its pre-existing relationships with advertisers looking to extend their display efforts to mobile devices.” eMarketer anticipates Google’s expected strong future results will come from mobile monetization of YouTube.

Google still enjoys a solid lead in net mobile ad revenue, with expected 2012 earnings of almost USD $2.2 billion and 57 percent share compared to $339 million and 9 percent share for Facebook. Google’s dominance in net mobile ad revenue is expected to continue through 2014.


Mobile Advertising Comes of Age

Mobile advertising in general is booming -- eMarketer predicts total revenue generated by mobile advertising in the US this year including display, search and messaging-based ads served to mobile phones and tablets will grow 180 percent to more than $4 billion. This estimate is substantially higher than an estimate of 80 percent growth in 2012 US mobile ad revenue to $2.6 billion in September of this year.

eMarketer credits Facebook’s unexpectedly strong Q3 2012 performance as a big driver of this upward revision. And eMarketer expects total US mobile ad revenue to continue skyrocketing to more than $7 billion next year and almost $21 billion in 2016.


In addition, Google is expected to continue dominating mobile search advertising with a 93 percent share of the roughly $2 billion market in 2012. Mobile will only represent about 2 percent of all media ad spending this year but double that share to 4 percent next year and command 11 percent of the market in 2016, surpassing the expected 8.5 percent share of radio.

Sponsored Stories Save the Day

A New York Times blog entry on Facebook taking the lead in mobile display ad revenue credits Facebook’s “sponsored stories” as a major driver of its performance. “This tool allows businesses to post a Facebook status update and promote it so that certain users will see it on the company’s mobile apps or its Web site; if those users click ‘Like,’ their friends may see the promotion as well,” reports the Times.

Mobile Facebook Ads Give Favorable Impression

A July 2012 study of 280 million ad impressions by Facebook Ads API partners TBG Digital, AdParlor, Nanigans and Spruce Media indicates ads placed on Facebook’s mobile news feed have a CTR (clickthrough rate) of 1.14 percent and an eCPM (effective cost per mile), which measures the revenue selling ads on a CPM basis would provide, of US$ 9.86.

The mobile CTR is almost double the 0.588 percent CTR of ads placed on Facebook’s desktop news feed and more than 13 times the 0.083 percent CTR of ads placed on both Facebook’s desktop news feed and sidebar. Similarly, the mobile news feed eCPM is about 2.6 times the desktop news feed eCPM of US$ 3.72 and about 13 times the desktop news feed/sidebar eCPM of US$ 0.74

eMarketer bases its figures on a meta-analysis of data from research firms, investment banks and other sources on ad revenues, impressions and pricing.