Social Media

Credit Suisse: Instagram ads = billions for Facebook

Eye on Instagram's revenue growth
Eye on Instagram's revenue growth

If analysts at Credit Suisse are right, Instagram is about to turn into a cash cow for Facebook.

In a note published Monday, the firm estimated that Instagram will rake in more than triple its 2012 purchase price of $1 billion. Credit Suisse expects the mobile photo-sharing app to contribute $572.5 million for the first quarter and a whopping $3.2 billion for 2016.

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Credit Suisse's analysis indicates that monetization of Instagram is accelerating. Other near-term growth drivers include Premium Video and Dynamic Product ads.

The firm believes that mobile ad revenue continues to be a near-term growth driver for Facebook. Credit Suisse analysts forecast that first quarter mobile ad revenue will grow 78 percent year over year versus just 3 percent on desktop.

Credit Suisse expects mobile ad revenue to account for 82 percent of total ad revenue for the first quarter of 2016. The firm maintained its outperform rating and slightly raised its price target from $140 to $142.

Facebook is expected to report first quarter 2016 results on April 27.