April 2, 2013, 12:15 PM

U.S. online display ad spending soars

Google will lead the pack in 2013, with Facebook close behind, eMarketer says.

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U.S. marketers spent $14.98 billion on Internet display ads last year, a 21.5% jump from $12.33 billion in 2011, according to a new report from research firm eMarketer Inc. And the research firm expects marketers this year to spend $17.70 billion on display ads, an 18.2% increase year over year.

Google Inc. accounted for 15.1% of the market, taking in approximately $2.26 billion in display ad revenue last year, the report finds. Facebook Inc. was close behind with a 14.6% share of the market, or about $2.18 billion in display ad revenue. Rounding out the top five were Yahoo Inc. ($1.35 billion), Microsoft Corp. ($680 million) and AOL Inc. ($530 million). Microsoft is No. 74 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The research firm predicts that Google’s display ad lead will grow thanks largely to YouTube. Google’s video property is the dominant U.S. video platform on the web, which enables it to serve loads of ads to consumers, eMarketer says. YouTube had 163.2 million unique visitors in February, making it the fourth most-popular site on the web, according to Kantar Media Co.-owned web measurement firm Compete.com. Its closest video platform competitor is Hulu, which had 12.4 million unique visitors in February, Compete says.

“Even though [YouTube] needs more professional, brand-friendly content to realize its full advertising potential, its size and scope are already so massive as to bring in significant dollars,” the eMarketer report says. “And potential improvements in advertiser-friendliness leave room for Google to grow to become an even more important player in the display ad market.”

The research firm predicts Google will generate $3.11 billion in online display ads this year, which would be 17.6% of the U.S. display ad market. It predicts Google will earn $4.29 billion in display ad revenue in 2014, or 20.7% of the $20.73 billion U.S. market; and $5.87 billion in 2015, 24.6% of the $23.87 billion U.S. market.

Facebook, eMarketer predicts, will generate $2.75 billion in display ads this year, which would be 15.5% of the U.S. display ad market; $3.35 billion in 2014, for a 16.2% market share; and $3.87 billion in 2015, which would be a 16.2% market share.

A separate eMarketer report predicts Twitter’s global ad revenue will increase 102.2% this year to $582.8 million from $288.3 million last year. It expects the microblogging service’s revenue to jump 63.0% to $950.0 million in 2014, and 40.0% to $1.33 billion by 2015.

Mobile devices account for much of that growth. The research firm says that it expects $308.9 million of Twitter’s ad revenue this year to come from mobile advertising, up 123.2% from $138.4 million in 2012. That would mean 53% of Twitter’s ad revenue in 2013 would come from mobile. Last year mobile accounted for 48% of the microblogging service’s revenue. EMarketer expects mobile advertising to reach $551.0 million next year, which would be 58% of Twitter’s total revenue. Mobile advertising will bring in $811.3 million in 2015, which would be 61% of Twitter ad revenue, eMarketer predicts.

The bulk of Twitter’s advertising revenue comes from the United States, eMarketer says. Last year, U.S. advertising accounted for 90% of Twitter’s advertising, but the research firm expects that percentage to drop to 83% this year as the microblogging service expands its foreign sales operations.

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