Facebook offers first serious challenge to Google as ad revenue heads towards $4bn

And the worrying thing for the Googlers is that it’s doubling every year.

Here’s tech site VatorNews’ report.

Facebook, which already accounts for over half of social network ad revenues in the U.S., will continue to rapidly rival Google in advertising revenues over the next few years, according to new projections from digital media researcher eMarketer.

In 2011, Facebook is forecasted to collect $4.05 billion in worldwide advertising revenue, more than doubling its $1.86 billion revenue from 2010 and more than quintupling its $0.74 billion from 2009. eMarketer predicts that, in 2012, Facebook could see $5.74 billion in global revenue, a 678 percent increase from 2009.

”2010 was the year that Facebook firmly established itself as a major force not only in social network advertising but all of online advertising,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “In 2011, its global presence is something multinational advertisers can’t ignore.”

There’s someone else that can’t ignore Facebook’s quickly growing global presence: Google. To say that Google, the king of search (and the duke of a lot of other things), has a huge stake in advertising would be a massive understatement.

Though Google hasn’t yet reported financial results from its latest quarter (stay tuned: those are coming this Thursday), we do have data from the company’s third quarter in 2010, reported last October. The company reported revenues of $7.29 billion, an increase of 23 percent compared to the same quarter in 2009.

As expected, $7.03 billion of that, 97 percent of the total, came from advertising. Google-owned sites generated $4.83 billion, or 67 percent of total revenues, and partner sites using Google AdSense generated $2.20 billion, or 30 percent of total revenues.

In just two years, Facebook could be less than $1.5 billion shy of Google’s total revenue today.

With well over 500 million users around the world (some are already reporting 650 million even though there are no official reports) and thousands more every day, Facebook’s global reach is astonishing. And advertisers love the site because users always have more reasons to go back.

In September 2010, comScore revealed that users were spending, on average, 9.9 percent of their of Web time on Facebook, versus 9.6 percent of their time, which was spent on all of Google’s properties (Gmail, YouTube, etc.) combined. Just as Facebook’s advertising revenues keep growing, I expect the divide there to only get wider.

As long as Facebook can continue to be the social network for users the world over, advertisers will only keep flocking to the site. But that might be harder than it sounds.

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