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In January, Jeremy Liew at Lightspped Venture Partners estimated that Facebook was generating $15 million annually in virtual gifting revenue. Today, Jeremy posted an update to that initial analysis which suggests that Facebook is selling virtual gifts at annual run rate between about $28 million and $43 million.

Based on the January estimate, Facebook earned an estimated $15 million in virtual gifting revenue on total estimated revenues of $150 million. Facebook is estimated to do between $300 and $350 million in revenue this year, which means that growth in virtual gifting revenue is either keeping pace with or exceeding Facebook’s overall growth.

The analysis also suggests that nearly 80% of Facebook gifts are sold from the first screen of Facebook’s gift store. This tremendous bias towards the “first page of results” will come as no surprise to search engine optimization experts and web behaviorists — the majority of people just can’t be bothered to search below the fold.

As a result of this phenomenon, the relevancy of the first page of results is absolutely crucial to whether or not a user “converts” (i.e., clicks on a search engine result on Google, buys a book on Amazon, or sends a virtual gift). While Facebook is generating a respectable amount of revenue from virtual gifting (revenue most other social networks are leaving on the table), the full potential of their virtual gifting business won’t be unlocked until they follow the merchandising best practices of successful e-commerce sites such as a Amazon.

What’s the first step? Get rid of that one size fits all storefront and use some of the Facebook Beacon targeting goodness to create personalized storefronts for Facebook Gifts shoppers.


Virtual Goods Insider covers the burgeoning economy of in-game items, avatar customization, virtual gifts, digital media, and other goods that exist purely in digital form. It is written and published by Ravi Mehta, a veteran of the online gaming and consumer media industries.



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