Ever since social networking giant Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) completed its much-hyped IPO in May this year, there has been increasing concern over how the company will boost its advertising revenue growth. The latest to raise concerns over FB’s advertising revenue growth is research firm EMarketer.
EMarketer today lowered its full-year sales forecast for Facebook. Back in February, the research firm had forecast Facebook’s 2012 sales at $6 billion. However, it is now less bullish on the social network’s prospects. The research firm now expects Facebook’s revenue to come in at $5 billion in 2012. The latest estimate from EMarketer is more in-line with Street estimates.
EMarketer expects FB’s revenue to increase 36% in 2012 and 31% in 2013. The research firm expects advertising revenue to rise 34% in 2012 and 29% in 2013.
The downward revision from EMarketer once again raises the question whether ads placed on Facebook are effective. The question is critical considering that Facebook generates most of its revenue from advertising.
Debra Aho Williamson, analyst at EMarketer, said that major marketers are questioning the effectiveness of advertising on FB, and they are worried that their ability to measure results is underdeveloped. Although FB says that it is working with companies to show that their ads have an impact on its users, Williamson believes that the social network must move more quickly.
According to Williamson, sales haven’t been growing as fast as expected and there is still hesitation about the effectiveness of the advertising and about how much the advertising is worth.
Concern over advertising revenue growth has been one of the major reasons behind the sharp drop in FB shares since the May 2012 IPO. FB shares are down nearly 50% from their IPO price of $38. The stock fell to an all-time low of $18.75 earlier this month.