Audience Monetization: Who’s Doing it Best? (Hint: Google > Facebook)

May 10, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Digital | Display & Rich Media | Featured | Media & Entertainment | Paid Search | Social Media | Spending & Spenders

Google alone commands around 15% of the world’s media advertising revenues, an extraordinary figure. Facebook is the second-largest media owner, according to a recent analysis, itself capturing about 5% of worldwide media ad spend. How are they doing so well? They’re monetizing their audiences better than other online properties, per estimates from Ampere Analysis.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, Ampere estimates that Google raked in almost $7 ($6.70) per monthly active user from advertising on its sites. That’s up from $6 per user a year earlier, and from $5.10 per user in the first quarter of 2015.

Facebook’s not too far behind, though – and it’s sporting much faster growth. With $4.70 per monthly active user in advertising revenue in Q4 2016, Facebook has more than doubled – from $2.30 – its Q1 2015 average revenue per user (ARPU). That’s what leads to earnings releases such as the one from earlier this week, when Facebook reported a 51% year-over-year increase in ad revenues (which was actual quite moderate for them). For context, ad revenues increased at a rate 3 times faster than the growth in monthly active users (17%).

Ampere’s number-crunching led it to some even more impressive figures:

  • Facebook’s ARPU in the US has surged from $3.30 per quarter in 2012 to almost $20 (more than $19.80) in 2016; while
  • In Europe, Facebook’s ARPU has jumped from $1.45 in 2012 to $5.86 in 2016.

All of this is bringing the social platform’s monetization closer to that of the big dog, traditional TV, according to Ampere Analysis. Its figures indicate that advertising revenue per TV viewer was $10.40 on a global basis in Q4, with Facebook close to half of that amount ($4.70).

In the US, the value of a Facebook user has grown from 7% of a TV viewer in 2012 to 40% in 2016, it says, while in Europe that increase has been from 14% to 53%.

Of course, there’s more than just Google and Facebook: there’s also the up-and-down Twitter and the darling-of-the-day Snapchat.

Twitter hasn’t been able to move the needle much in the past year in terms of revenue per monthly active user (MAU), according to the analysis, which pegs it at $2 in Q4. As for Snapchat, it’s bold efforts (including this week’s claim that its audience is differentiated from that of Facebook and Instagram) are paying off, as it’s now up to $0.70 per MAU, from essentially nothing in early 2015.

Maybe that’s not surprising, given marketers’ obsession with reaching youth…


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