Internet research firm EMarketer Inc. says that Twitter will be tripling its advertising revenue this year to $150 million, according to Business Week. That will be pretty impressive, if it happens.
The prediction comes as part of a larger prediction for Twitter’s next few years, with $150M being the 2011 number and a bigger $250M being the revenue number for 2012. This will be in large part because of Twitter’s ability to get big names like Nissan, HP, and Starbucks on board to market there.
Twitter currently has around 175 million users, most of whom follow Ashton Kutcher, but a far cry from Facebook’s 600 million users and Google’s untold legions of users.
The challenge for the 140-or-less micro-blogging platform will be whether they can prove to those new advertisers that they can deliver the goods. Today’s online marketing campaigns require measurable results and the little startup Twitter will have to demonstrate that they can drive markets towards brands.
The social blogging platform was founded in 2006 and became a sensation in 2009-10 as Hollywood stars and sports and music personalities came on board and began sending tweets from appearances on TV, in the news, and more. Since then, Twitter has attracted venture capital on a huge scale, now being valued at $3.7 billion after the latest $200M funding round.
Whether Twitter can actually pull off this kind of income is questionable, since it’s profile and user usage profile is so very different from Facebook’s (to whom it’s often erroneously compared). Twitter users are generally fast and furious posters with little real interaction on a large scale while Facebook’s more in-depth profile-building and network-mapping lends itself to more casual, long-term usage. This translates (in marketing) to time spent on the site or any given page of it. It’s likely that metrics would show that the average Facebook user spends much, much more time lingering on a page than does the average Twitter user.
So whether Twitter can deliver the same kind of advertising bombshell that Facebook has been able to build is a very potent question.