February 8, 2011, 3:54 PM

U.S. consumers saw 4.9 trillion web display ads in 2010

Ads displayed on social networks accounted for 34% of all display ad impressions in December.

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Online display advertising continues to grow, according to a new report from web measurement firm comScore Inc.

The report says U.S. Internet users saw 4.9 trillion display ads last year. That number stands to grow as more major brand marketers invest in all facets of online advertising. EBay led the way among retail-related sites with 36.8 billion impressions in 2010. 

The comScore “2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review” report says that 104 different advertisers delivered at least 1 billion display ad impressions each in the fourth quarter, up 30% from 80 advertisers a year earlier.

Facebook delivered the most display ads, accounting for more than 1 trillion ads last year, making it the first publisher to eclipse the 1 trillion ad threshold. Yahoo sites, which displayed the most ads in 2009, were second with 529.4 billion ads, followed by Microsoft sites (243.9 billion), Fox Interactive Media (200.2 billion), AOL Inc. (130.2 billion) and Google sites (128.2 billion).

Facebook’s display ad success reflects the large amount of time consumers spend on the site, says the report.  The average Internet user spent more than four hours on social networks each month. And nearly one out of every eight minutes online is spent on Facebook.

Among the biggest changes last year was a tremendous shift in smartphone penetration, according to the report.

“2010 was a year of undeniable progress in the mobile arena,” the report says. “A wide variety of increasingly advanced devices were introduced to the market, mobile content options continued to increase with an ever-growing library of applications paired with improvements to the mobile browsing experience, while the definition of the word ‘mobile’ evolved with the introduction of tablet devices such as the iPad.”

In December nearly 47% of mobile subscribers were connected to media, which means they used a web browser, accessed applications or downloaded content on their phones—a 7.6 percentage point increase from a year earlier. Moreover smartphone ownership increased 58.8% from 17% to 27%.

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