Corporate Eye

Internet Ad Revenues up 14% and Mobile up 95%

ad revenue moneyAccording to the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Internet Advertising Revenue Report, internet advertising revenues were up by 14% in the first six months of 2012 to $17 billion. It’s hard to believe that when the IAB began tracking internet advertising revenue back in 1996,the first half-year revenue recorded was $82 million.

At the same time, mobile advertising nearly doubled over the prior year to $1.2 billion during the first half of 2012. The online advertising revenue data in the report comes from web sites, commercial online services, free email providers, and all other companies selling online advertising, and it’s considered one of the most accurate measurements of interactive advertising revenues.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • Digital video commercials (a component of display-related advertising in the IAB report) increased by 18% year-over-year during the first six months of 2012 and brought in $1 billion in revenue.
  • Search ad revenues for the first half of 2012 increased by 19% and brought in $8.1 billion in revenue. That equates to 48% of all 2012 half-year internet ad revenues.
  • Display-related advertising revenues during the first half of 2012 increased by 4% to $55.6 billion. That’s 33% of all 2012 half-year internet ad revenues.
  • Retail made up the largest category of internet ad spending during the first six months of 2012 and claimed 20% of the total revenues at $3.4 billion. The automotive category claimed 13% of total revenues at $2.2 billion.
  • Performance-based ad pricing revenues rose by 19% to $11.5 billion in the first six months of 2012 (67% of all revenues). Impression-based ad pricing revenues increased by 11% to $5.2 billion (31% of all revenues), but hybrid ad pricing revenue dropped by 60% to $368 million (2% of all revenues).

 You can see the specific ad revenue breakdown during the first six months of 2012 for each ad category below:

  1. Search = 48%
  2. Display Related= 33%
    • Banner Ads = 21%
    • Digital Video Commercials = 6%
    • Rich Media = 3%
    • Sponsorship = 2%
  3. Mobile = 7%
  4. Classifieds = 7%
  5. Referrals/Lead Generation = 5%
  6. E-mail = 0%

As you might already know, but it’s always good to see the actual data, search advertising and display advertising still dominate internet advertising but mobile represents a world that’s full of opportunities, which advertisers are just starting to tap into. Furthermore, email has become the forgotten child who deserves more attention, don’t you think?

Image: Leonardini

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.