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Facebook's U.S. mobile ad revenue is expected to soar in 2013

April 03, 2013|By Jessica Guynn
  • Research firm EMarketer expects Facebook's mobile ad revenue to soar this year to nearly $1 billion. Above, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., in March.
Research firm EMarketer expects Facebook's mobile ad revenue to… (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press )

SAN FRANCISCO -- Is mobile clicking for Facebook Inc.?

Facebook's initial public stock offering in May was dashed after the social network said it wasn't making "any significant revenue" from mobile even though more than half of its users checked the service on mobile devices.

With its stock price plunging, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged in September: "We've had a bunch of missteps" in mobile.

But in the background, Facebook has already powered up the turbo boosters. In its first year of showing mobile ads, Facebook generated $391 million in mobile advertising revenue. In the last three months of 2012 alone, revenue from advertising on mobile devices jumped to $305 million, nearly a quarter of its overall ad sales.

And, on Wednesday, the eve of Facebook's unveiling of a new Android mobile product, a research firm said it expects Facebook's mobile ad revenue to take off this year, hitting nearly $1 billion.

EMarketer Inc.'s forecast calls for Facebook to bring in $965 million in U.S. mobile ad revenue in 2013.

In the mobile display ad market, Facebook is tops, raking in nearly 3 in 10 dollars this year. But Facebook is still playing second fiddle to Google, and it isn’t expected to catch up to Google in U.S. mobile ad sales anytime soon. Google is expected to lasso more than half of the total U.S. mobile ad revenue this year.

More good news for Facebook came in a research report from JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Doug Anmuth, who said his analysis of mobile usage suggests competing services such as Instagram and SnapChat "are having only a minimal impact on time spent on Facebook and that increasing mobile usage is keeping overall Facebook engagement fairly steady."

Anmuth estimates that time spent per mobile unique visitor is now more than two times that of desktop visitor, and Facebook's share of mobile minutes has doubled from 11% in March 2012.

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