Marketing analysis firm eMarketer is predicting that Twitter’s advertising revenue will triple over the next three years to hit $540 million by the end of 2014.
The research claims that the microblogging service chalked up $139.5 million in ad revenue last year, but an increase in usage in the US combined with the service’s growth in users and advertisers outside of the country are likely to propel its income to new heights.
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eMarketer points out that the US currently accounts for 90 percent of Twitter’s advertising revenues, however that figure is seen to be dropping to 83 percent by 2014. Given that it is predicting that revenues will triple in the interim period, stats from the firm suggest that US growth will remain strong as the emergence of overseas markets will dilute American revenue by just 7 percent.
Twitter’s plan to ramp up in emerging markets is likely to be one reason behind its adoption of a framework to allow the censoring of content on the site. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo claims that the company is acting to comply with laws in international countries, however such a move would not be contemplated were Twitter not planning to increase usage and, ultimately, revenues from new markets.
For its part, the company is making its censorship moves entirely transparent and reflective on government regimes. A partnership with Chilling Effects will see all requests to take down tweets clearly visible online, while tweets themselves will be greyed out in certain countries rather than deleted from the service entirely. Equally, there is no guarantee that all requests will be carried out, a glance at India shows that Web firms are not afraid to stand up to government requests.
Fellow high profile social network Facebook is set to IPO this year, possibly as soon as next week, and its reported that its net income for 2011 may have reached a staggering $1 billion. These revenues, if correct, put its monetisation strategy a long way ahead of Twitter or any other social network, and not far from the tech industry’s richest firms.
eMarketer’s predictions are interesting but three years is a long time in any industry, particularly the social network space, and it remains to be seen how Twitter’s business will develop in that time. After all, just consider how its business and user base has grown since 2009.