Twitter ad revenue may reach $150 million in '11

Site's ad revenue is set to more than triple this year, according to a market research firm. But Twitter's figure will still trail far behind Facebook's.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Twitter could more than triple its ad revenue this year but will still trail far behind Facebook, a new report claims.

Market research firm eMarketer predicted today that Twitter will generate about $150 million in advertising revenue this year, up from the $45 million it made last year. The vast majority of this year's revenue--$140 million--will come from inside the U.S., the firm said. eMarketer expects Twitter ad revenue to reach $250 million next year.

However, eMarketer also pointed out that its estimates aren't guarantees. And Twitter, which only joined the advertising game last year with "promoted tweets," will have its work cut out for it to reach those figures.

"If Twitter can grow its user base and convince marketers of its value as a go-to secondary player to Facebook, it will succeed in gaining revenue," Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer's principal analyst, said in a statement. "In 2011 it must work overtime to give its early advertisers a positive experience."

Facebook is far and away the first destination for marketers on social networks, eMarketer found. In 2010, Facebook generated an estimated $1.86 billion in ad revenue, according to the research firm. This year, it's expected to hit $4.05 billion.

The No. 2 slot won't go to Twitter, though, according to eMarketer. MySpace is expected to generate $184 million this year, just inching out Twitter. That said, MySpace's ad revenue is dropping and the site won't be able to hold its No. 2 spot past this year. According to eMarketer, MySpace generated $288 million in ad revenue last year and will see that figure slip to $156 million in 2012.

All told, eMarketer expects about $6 billion to be spent worldwide on social advertising this year and nearly $8.1 billion next year.