Approximately 27 million users bought virtual goods using Facebook Payments in 2012, up from 15 million in 2011, according to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.
Facebook generated $810 million in payments revenue in 2012. CFO David Ebersman said only $5 million of that came from sources outside of games, such as Gifts and user promoted posts. Overall, payments and other fees revenue in 2012 increased $253 million, or 45 percent, compared to 2011, despite close to doubling the number of users buying virtual goods.
That could be because of Facebook’s promotions to get more users spending money in games. Although the volume of paying users increased, it the amount new payers spend could be much less than other players. Another factor could be growth in international markets. Facebook says 51 percent of its revenue from marketers and developers based in the United States, compared to 56 percent in 2011. This figure includes advertising revenue as well, but international developers are increasingly finding success on the social network and the overall number of international users is growing much faster than in the U.S.
San Francisco-based developer Zynga, on the other hand, is not the source of revenue it once was for Facebook. Payments fees and advertising from Zynga made up 7 percent of Facebook’s Q4 2012 revenue and 9 percent of its total 2012 revenue. That’s down from 11 percent in Q4 2011 and 12 percent overall in 2011. Facebook said in its filing that to date, Zynga has generated the majority of its payments revenue, but its contribution has decreased over time and the company believes this trend will continue.
In November 2012, Zynga and Facebook agreed to end their business relationship that gave the developer certain privileges but also limited where it could launch its games and how Facebook advertising appears on Zynga.com. That deal goes into effect in March this year.