As Facebook pushes to Win The Internet, its dazzling growth in usage is still to be reflected in profits, or even revenues. Accurate estimates of exactly what Facebook is bringing in are hard to come by but the best yet now comes from the Inside Facebook blog.
In brief, they estimate total 2009 revenues of $635 million, of which over half – $350 million – came from performance advertising of various types. Zynga’s Farmville and other social games accounted for up to $175 million with the balance resulting from “especially strong growth in international markets, in part because companies like Techlightenment, TBG London, Tradimax and 77 Agency began using Facebook’s advertising API to sell ads in bulk.”
These are companies that are primarily focused on Europe and the rest of the world. They are succeeding by taking advantage of Facebook’s demographic targeting capabilities to reach users with an enormous diversity of languages, interests and cultures.
On one hand, this is a perfect example of the strength of social media’s promise to enable new ways for marketers to communicate with their customers. This kind of easy roll-out of targeted campaigns across countries, ethnicities and age groups would be incredibly hard using other media. It’s a sign that Facebook social graph data will pay off big-time in due course.
But on the other hand, what these financials don’t show is the kind of exponential revenue growth from Facebook that many have been waiting for. They’re basically doubling their revenues each year. That’s not bad, but it’s not yet great.