(By Balaseshan) Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) may book lower advertising revenue this year than previously predicted despite continuing robust growth rates for the foreseeable future, according to eMarketer.
Ad revenues of the social networking giant will continue to rise this year, but at a significantly lower rate than earlier. Revenues will reach $4.23 billion, up 34.1% over 2011, and eMarketer expects revenue growth in the double digits to continue through 2014, when Facebook's worldwide ad revenues will reach $6.81 billion.
In February, eMarketer predicted ad revenues at Facebook would reach $5 billion this year, but underperformance throughout the first half of 2012, along with questions about the effectiveness of some of the site's ad products, have led to a downward revision of close to $1 billion.
Paid advertising accounts for the vast majority of Facebook's total revenue, though its share has been dropping over the past several years. As recently as 2009, advertising accounted for 98% of the company's intake; this year that percentage is down to 83.9%.
Total revenues at Facebook will break the $5 billion mark this year, an increase of 35.9% over 2011. Earlier this year, eMarketer predicted that Facebook's total revenues in 2012 would surpass $6 billion, but after the site underperformed eMarketer's expectations in both Q1 and Q2, the forecast has been revised downward.
eMarketer said the new forecast represents a decrease in estimates for this year of more than $1 billion, a significant drop in confidence in the site's revenues.
Revenues from Facebook Payments and other sources are rising more quickly than ad revenues, but from a much smaller base. This year Facebook will take in $811 million from sources other than advertising, which represents an increase of 45.6% over last year.