Online display ad impressions up 22% from '09

Faith Merino · November 8, 2010 · Short URL:

ComScore reveals the publishers and advertisers leading the growth

It’s looking more and more like the bad times may be behind us.  Last week, reports showed that the U.S. economy has grown by some 2% and consumer spending has risen 2.6%, the sharpest gain since 2006.  Adding to these good tidings, comScore announced Monday that the U.S. online display advertising market saw a 22% increase in ad impressions in Q3 2010 compared to the same time last year.

“Several growth drivers have contributed to sustained improvements over the past few quarters,” said Jeff Hackett, senior vice president of comScore, in the company’s announcement.  “The ability to buy specific audiences is enabling a greater number of display ads to be delivered on target, display formats are improving at a rapid rate, and the quality of creative is getting better every day.  As publishers prove the value of online display ad campaigns, digital should continue to carve out a bigger piece of the advertising pie.”

Leading the publishers was Facebook, taking 23.1% of the market with 297 billion display ad impressions.  Facebook’s market share represents a growth of 13.9 percentage points from 9.2% in Q3 2009.  Yahoo followed with 140 billion ad impressions, or 11% of the market.  Microsoft sites came in third with 64 billion ad impressions, or 5% of the market.

With 13.9% growth, Facebook's numbers almost suggest that the social networking site alone accounts for the growth in display advertising.  Q4 2009 was the first time that Facebook surpassed Yahoo sites in U.S. display ad impressions.  Prior to this shift in market share, some 1 trillion display ads had been delivered to Internet users (as measured in Q1 of this year), compared to Q3 2010, when 1.3 trillion ads were delivered to Web users.  

Previously, Yahoo was the reigning king of online display ads, a position that it has been trying to regain.  In October, Yahoo acquired dynamic display ad platform Dapper.

But Facebook isn’t the only publisher that has experienced growth (though it has seen the largest spike in ad impressions).  Yahoo’s 140 billion ad impressions is a marked increase from its 131 billion impressions in Q1 2010.  Even Microsoft has experienced growth since Q1, when it had 60 billion ad impressions.  Nevertheless, Facebook’s growth certainly can’t be overlooked.  Facebook’s 297 billion ad impressions is an eye-popping leap from its 176 billion impressions in Q1.

And who were the top advertisers in Q3 2010?  AT&T led the ranks with 21.1 billion ad impressions, taking 1.6% of the market for display ads, followed by Scottrade, with 14.9 billion impressions, or 1.2% of the market, and Verizon, with 14.6 billion impressions (1.1%).

Some other interesting facts about online display advertising in Q3 2010: the average U.S. Internet user was served over 6,000 display ads over the course of the third quarter, and 109 different advertisers delivered at least 1 billion display ad impressions throughout the quarter, compared to 76 last year. 

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