NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As advertising dollars continue to transition online from TV, Facebook (FB) - Get Report is positioned to gain the most, according to a Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali.
After seeing the company's new immersive mobile advertising format at the Cannes Lions ad festival, Squali and his team believe Facebook's innovative advertising options, such as interactive advertisements and video, make Facebook the clear leader in native online advertising moving forward.
"As bid density for video ads increases, we expect upside to both volume and pricing," Squali wrote in a note. "These highly engaging new formats should further differentiate Facebook's leading native mobile ad offering and attract brand advertisers."
In the first quarter of 2015, Facebook generated $3.3 billion in advertising revenue, up 46% from the same quarter the previous year when it generated $2.3 billion. Squali and his team expect Facebook's advertising revenue to generate $3.8 billion in the second quarter of 2015, up significantly from the $2.7 billion the company reported for the same quarter the previous year. The analyst raised his price target to $100 from $92, and reiterated his "buy" rating on shares.
In 2014, more than $145 billion was spent on digital ad worldwide, and of that $51 billion came from the U.S. alone, according to eMarketer. The report noted that global Internet advertising spending is expected to grow 15% annually over the next few years, and is expected to overtake TV as the largest medium by 2020, citing ZenithOptimedia.
The largest driver of Internet growth is mobile, according to Squali and his team, and Facebook's extensive mobile user base enables it to potentially profit from this trend. Facebook reported 1.3 billion mobile monthly active users at the end of March 2015, which is 87% of Facebook's 1.4 billion monthly active users. The company also reported an average 798 million mobile active users each day, or 85% of its 936 million daily active users in March.
Facebook could also benefit from the decreasing gap between the time people spend on mobile and the amount companies allocate to advertising on mobile, according to Squali and his team. Currently the gap stands at 14 percentage-points, with eMarketer reporting people in the U.S. spend 24% of their media time on mobile and MagnaGlobal reporting 10% of U.S. companies' advertising budgets are use on mobile. This is down from last year's gap, which was 16 percentage-points, according to the report.
Squali and his team also found that 5% of U.S. consumers' total media time is spent between Facebook and Instagram and that the company only takes in 2.5% of U.S. advertising budgets, giving it room to grow in the future.
In its first quarter Facebook reported that it had more than 4 billion video views daily, a jump from the 3 billion daily video views in the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year. Squali and his team said this is an area for Facebook to exploit and profit from. "While ad videos were not broken out separately, video usage is growing very rapidly on the platform, and video ads should inevitably follow," he wrote.
The new video ad techniques are designed specifically for mobile and will be completely immersive for users. They will include features such as full-screen video, additional product information and interactive carousels, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But it is not the Facebook platform alone that Squali and his team see benefiting the company long-term, citing Instagram's recent push into monetization.
In June, Instagram announced a new "action-oriented" ad feature that would allow companies of all sizes to place ads on their Instagram feed. As part of the announcement, Instagram said it would also allow advertisers access to the same targeting and demographic measures available on Facebook.