EMarketer Lowers Facebook 2012 Revenue Estimate to $5 Billion

In a Tough Economy, Marketers Are Looking Hard at What They're Spending on Facebook

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Wall Street analysts and research firms have been dialing back their once-bullish outlooks for Facebook since its underwhelming IPO. The latest: eMarketer today trimmed $1 billion off their 2012 estimate made six months ago.

In February, EMarketer predicted Facebook would book more than $6 billion in sales in 2012. Today they're saying just a hair over $5 billion, with $4.2 billion from advertising and $811 million from payments and other revenue. Ad revenue is expected to grow 35.9% in 2012 and 31% in 2013.

eMarketer says the revision is based on Q1 and Q2 results, analysis of impressions, usage, and conversations with marketers. It doesn't reflect concerns about the transition to mobile because mobile advertising wasn't expected to be a material contributor in 2012 anyway.

Rather, this is about concerns that in a tough economy, marketers aren't seeing the kind of returns that would warrant bigger increases in investment.

"Major marketers are still questioning the effectiveness of advertising on Facebook, and they are concerned that their ability to measure results is underdeveloped," said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. "Facebook is working on addressing these concerns, but it must move even more quickly."

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