SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (TheStreet) -- Advertisers will spend $23.68 billion to reach consumers on social networks this year, with a bulk of the funds, about 65.5%, headed directly to Facebook's (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report coffers, according to the latest projections for digital analytics firm eMarketer.
The report underscores Facebook's status atop the social networking hierarchy, and paints a rosy picture of the company's advertising business ahead of its first-quarter earnings report on April 22. Wall Street is looking for revenue of $3.56 billion and earnings of 40 cents per share for the quarter, based on estimates from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Facebook's projected share of global social networking ads amounts to $15.5 billion, and is an improvement over 2014, when it owned 64.8% of the market, by eMarketer's count. The company is likely the biggest beneficiary of advertisers' growing desire to reach social network users, which is reflected in how much they're willing to spend to reach them.
Advertisers in the U.S. and Canada will spend more than $50 for each user across all social networks in their respective countries, according to eMarketer. By 2017, they will increase their spend to $71.37 per user.
eMarketer also expects social network ad spending to balloon to $35.98 billion by 2017, which means Facebook's massive advertising business still has plenty of room to grow. Facebook sales totaled $3.85 billion in the fourth quarter, up 49% from the year-ago quarter. "We are unaware of any companies of Facebook's size which can produce revenue growth at this pace," Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser wrote in a note following the results.
Facebook is expected to grow its first-quarter revenue by 42% over the prior year, based on analysts' estimates. "We think [the quarter] will be strong based on positive industry data and checks," SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Robert Peck said in a Wednesday note. Peck's revenue estimate of $3.5 billion is slightly lower than the consensus, but the analyst is bullish on the social network's newest businesses, particularly video advertising and Instagram.
Meanwhile, Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report , too, will grow its share of social networking ad dollars this year, despite its challenges growing its audience, according to eMarketer. The company is projected to pull in $2.09 billion, or 8.8% of all social network ad spending this year, up from 7.1% in 2014.