Facebook Ad Revenue to Top 3.8 Billion in 2011

According to eMarketer, 2011 will be a banner year for Facebook with ad revenues rising 104% to 3.8 billion. And though this seems like an excellent achievement, it’s actually lower than the 4.05 they originally predicted at the start of the year.

Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst would like to note that, “This slight revision downward for 2011 should not be taken as a sign that Facebook’s overall business is losing momentum.”

Because by 2013, they’re expecting Facebook to pull in 7.0 billion. I imagine no one over there is weeping over the balance sheet.

This ad portion only represents part of Facebook’s income. When you add in Facebook credits and other sources, the 2011 number climbs to double what it was last year.

Facebook Readies Read, Watch, Listen

There’s a new rumble in the jungle. Hear it? That’s the excitement building over a big change in Facebook. Rumor is that the social media giant will be announcing their plan at the f8 Developer Conference on Thursday, but All Things Digital has the scoop now.

It’s called “Read. Watch. Listen.” and it could be the biggest shift we’ve seen in Facebook in a long time.

The concept is all about content — video, music, books and movies. The New York Times says that Facebook’s new platform and partnership deals will allow users to share their favorite songs, TV shows and movies right from their profile pages.

Incentivized Advertising Raises Brand Awareness

When we were kids, the promise of a gold star or a sticker was all the incentive we needed to do our very best on a spelling test. As we grew, the incentives did too, a higher allowance for keeping your room clean, then a higher salary for doing a good job at work.

So it’s no wonder that consumers are willing to give a little more of themselves to a brand, as long as there’s a prize at the end.

SocialVibe and KN Dimestore recently conducted a survey to discover just how helpful incentives can be. They placed interactive ads on sites such as Causes.com and Pandora and on games like Farmville. Visitors were asked to play a branded game or take a survey and in return they’d receive an appropriate reward. For Farmville it was game credits, air-time without ads on Pandora and donations on Causes.com.

Netflix Apologizes Then Makes Matters Worse

“I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.”

Two months ago, Netflix Co-Founder and CEO Reed Hastings, announced a major change to the pricing structure for Netflix members which included increased fees for anyone wanting to get DVDs in the mail and stream movies.The result was a lot of bad press as loyal fans cried foul loud enough to be heard. Memberships were canceled, stock prices dropped and Blockbuster could be heard laughing all the way to bankruptcy court.

Yesterday, Hastings tried to patch things up with a lengthy note of apology and an explanation of things to come.

Young Adults Exchange an Average of 87 Text Messages a Day

The next time you’re in a busy public place, stand still and watch the people who walk by. A large majority of them will either have their eyes down on a cell phone or they’ll appear to be talking to themselves (earbuds!).

It’s gotten so we can’t leave the house without our mobile phone charged and ready. And I know several teenagers who carry theirs from room to room so they never miss a text. Yes, a text, not a call. For the 18-29 set, texting is the ultimate form of communication.

New numbers from the Pew Internet and American Life Project show that 95% of young adults use the texting feature on their phones. On average, they send and receive 87.7 texts a day and the median user hits 40 a day. The median for all cell phone users is 10 a day.

Twitter Sends Few Conversions, but When They Spend, They Spend!

No matter what numbers we put out there, marketers continue to believe that Twitter and Facebook are worth the effort. So here’s another set that’s loaded with good news and bad news for those who hang their ledgers on social media.

A new report from RichRelevance states that online retail shoppers who clickthrough from Facebook only convert 1.2% of the time. If you think that’s bad, Twitter’s number is only 0.5%.

But don’t delete your Twitter account just yet, because in a strange twist of fate, these shoppers actually spend more money when they do order.

Take a look at the chart on the right. The conversion rates skew from AOL’s 2.9 down to Twitter’s barely there numbers. Now look at the Average Order Value in the last column. Twitter is wiping the floor with Google, Bing and the rest.

Facebook Offers Ad Credit to Small Businesses

Facebook has a terrific new idea. They’re going to offer a $50 ad credit to small business owners to help them increase sales. Isn’t that nice of them?

Of course, it does sound vaguely familiar. . . like maybe I’ve seen the same offer but with a Google Adwords logo attached? Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s current COO used to cash paychecks from Google, but I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

Speaking to USA Today, Sandberg said,

“My dream is really simple. I think every small business should … be using Facebook. We’re not going to stop until all of them are using it to grow their business.”

Not that there’s anything in it for Facebook, mind you. It’s a purely humanitarian gesture.