Twitter struggles to match growth hopes as mobile powers Facebook surge


Microblogging service’s UK revenue forecast to double to nearly £100m, but social network’s income expected to near £570m

Twitter will double its UK revenues this year to almost £100m, while Facebook is expected to enjoy a 40% boost to nearly £570m, according to a new forecast.

However, Twitter will fall well short of early forecasts of £180m in UK revenues for 2015, as growth fails to match high investor expectations.

Its UK business will make £96.9m this year, impressive growth compared with £46.8m last year and just £1.3m in 2011, according to a new report from eMarketer.

Facebook UK is expected to make £568m this year, a 40% year-on-year boost, and a further 27% rise in 2015 to £721m. Google UK is forecast to make £2.9bn this year, up 16% and £3.28bn next year, a 12% rise.

Twitter UK is also expected to show impressive growth again next year, up almost 60% to £150m.

Nevertheless, Twitter has failed to live up to the lofty investor expectations of the ability to continue to grow global users, with its share price falling steeply after reporting first-quarter results in April.

eMarketer has slashed £30m off of its forecast last December of Twitter UK’s 2015 revenues of £180m. The UK business is becoming increasingly important to Twitter globally, accounting for 12.7% of total ad revenues this year, and 13.2% next year.

Facebook’s mobile ad rise

While Twitter is struggling to live up to investor expectations, Facebook is outperforming them.

Facebook’s first-quarter results produced a tripling of global profits, with revenues surging on the back of a successful mobile ad strategy.

This has led to dramatic revisions in eMarketer’s forecast for the UK business (2013 revenues have been recalculated from £333m to £405m), with 40% growth in total revenues to £568m in 2014.

For 2015 eMarketer has upped its December forecast by almost 40%, from £516m to £721m.

Google v Facebook

The huge success of Facebook UK means that Google has a new major rival in the display ad market.

While search advertising remains the core of Google UK’s business, accounting for about 70% of total revenues, income from display advertising will hit £556m this year and £799m in 2015.

Facebook relies on advertising for more than 90% of total revenues and will make £531 from display ads this year and £686m next year.

eMarketer points out that Google will take 23% of all UK display advertising this year, while Facebook will be just a percentage point behind at 22%.

In 2015, Google will extend its share to 29% of all UK digital display advertising, while Facebook will grow to account for 25%.