This year Facebook surpassed rival web-giants Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and AOL (NYSE:AOL) to claim the #1 spot in selling online display ads, taking in a total revenue of $2.19 billion for the year. Facebook’s ad sales grew by 80.9% this year, far outpacing competitors’ growth (34.4% for Google, 18.7% for Microsoft). Surprisingly, Facebook’s recent numbers actually represent a growth slowdown for the company, which had recorded gains of 164% in 2009, and 117.8% in 2010.
The growth slowdown in 2011 was not limited to Facebook, with Google’s growth in ad revenues falling substantially (down to 34.4% from 140.5% in 2010). The year is also projected to see a significant slip-off in Microsoft’s gains (down from 38% in 2010). Yahoo and AOL were the only companies among the display ad revenue leaders to post accelerated growth gains in 2011, with YHOO up marginally at .5% and AOL up more substantially at over 25%.
According to one eMarketing analyst, the reasons for Facebook’s growth are clear, “Facebook’s supreme popularity—both in terms of numbers of people and amount of time they spend there—creates a plethora of display ad impressions, mainly for its unique form of banners…And that popularity is also boosting what advertisers will pay for its display ads.”
The statistics via eMarketer.com also include projections for market growth in 2012, where Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), is expected to be the fastest-growing company in display ad revenues(at over 50%), though the preliminary numbers predict a relative slowdown among the top-five companies. Google’s planned acquisition of online display ad optimization firm Admeld is a sign that they are taking the campaign seriously.
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