But Google will soon catch up in the display category, eMarketer says.
Facebook's ad sales revenue will increase $2 billion year-over-year, totaling $5.1 billion for 2012, according to a new eMarketer forecast. However, the researcher predicts Google will overtake Facebook in display ad sales by 2013.
Menlo Park, CA-based Facebook will still dominate this year, raking in $2.6 billion to Google's $2.5 billion in display ad revenues. Yet by end of next year, the Mountain View, CA-based web and technology giant will hold a $3.7 billion to $3.3 billion lead over Facebook for display ads, eMarketer says.
Facebook's recent S-1 filing revealed that eMarketer was $600 million off its earlier estimates for Facebook's 2011 ad sales ($3.2 billion). In its September 2011 calculation, the researcher said Facebook would draw $3.8 billion.
In an email to ClickZ, eMarketer said the discrepancy between its prediction and Facebook's actual ad revenue was due to the latter's "disappointing" Q4 sales.
According to eMarketer, the top three portals trail both Google and Facebook in ad revenue. Yahoo ($1.4 billion), Microsoft ($700 million), and AOL ($600 million) will finish 2012 behind the leaders in that order. The trio remains in the same positions next year, according to eMarketer, but will see incremental lifts in display ad revenues.
For total revenue, eMarketer predicts Facebook will pull in $6.1 billion during 2012. Of that sum, $1 billion will come from Facebook Credits and other revenue streams this year, the researcher says.
New York-based eMarketer doesn't orchestrate primary research, instead balancing numbers from various other sources to arrive at its forecasts. Its website explains the company's methodology:
eMarketer develops its own market estimates and projections through a careful process of aggregation, normalization, weighting, evaluating and estimating. By leveraging the best market research available, we find the "best fit" with that information and make sense of the disparate numbers.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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