Corporate Eye

Online Display Advertising is Growing but No Single Brand Dominates

internet__browserAccording to comScore, display advertising is making a big comeback since the economic downturn in 2009.  During the first quarter of 2010, the U.S. Internet audience received over 1 trillion display ads (up 15% from the same period in 2009).

Facebook and Yahoo! served the most display ads to the U.S. Internet audience during the first quarter of 2010 as shown below:

  • = 16.2%
  • Yahoo! Sites = 12.1%
  • Microsoft Sites = 5.5%
  • Fox Interactive Media = 4.9%
  • AOL LLC = 2.9%
  • Google Sites = 2.4%
  • Turner Network = 1.4%
  • Glam Media = 0.7%
  • eBay = 0.7%
  • = 0.6%

The story is a bit different, however, in terms of companies that pay for those display ads with no single company or brand leading the way.  According to comScore, the share of first quarter 2010 display advertising impressions was spread across a large number of companies and brands as you can see from the list of the top 10 display advertisers by number of impressions to the U.S. Internet audience during the first quarter of 2010 shown below:

  • AT&T = 2.4%
  • Verizon Communications – 2.1%
  • Scottrade, Inc. = 1.5%
  • Experian Interactive = 1.4%
  • Sprint Nextel Corporation = 0.9%
  • Netflix, Inc. = 0.9%
  • eBay, Inc. = 0.9%
  • Intuit Inc. = 0.8%
  • Privacy Matters 1-2-3 = 0.8%
  • IAC – InterActiveCorp = 0.8%
  • Everyone else = 87.5%

Online display advertising is fair game for any company or brand.  The fact that does stand out from comScore’s findings is that the mobile communications carrier category is represented three times in the top 10 list of display advertisers by brand impressions (AT&T, Verizon Communications, and Sprint Nextel Corporation).

Another finding that’s not particularly surprising is Intuit’s place on this list.  Given that the first quarter of the year in the United States also marks tax season, it’s not surprising that companies like Intuit (a tax software provider) is included in the top 10 list above.  The vast majority of Intuit’s advertising budget is probably spent during the first quarter of the year.

I’d love to see a trend chart using this data over the course of a year or longer.  What do you think?  Any surprises in this list?  Were you surprised to learn that there isn’t a dominant player (or players) when it comes to number of display ad impressions?

Image: stock.xchang

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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+.

Useful figures – thanks Susan.

What I’m NOT surprised to see is the percentage of adverts displayed on Facebook.

Of all the locations on the Web that I discuss with clients, the one they’re REALLY interested in being present on is Facebook. They’re often surprised how quick, cheap and easy it is to advertise on the uber-social network.

However, what they’re sometimes also surprised about is how low their CTR’s from Facebook are and how hard it can be to show ROI!

Any suggestions on how to help them determine the ROI of Facebook (and other social media advertising) would be appreciated.

Hi Andrew – thanks for your response to Susan’s post. You ask an excellent question…

There are some great resources in this post by Robin Broitman from last year, and a very interesting discussion by Brian Solis earlier this year. I hope something in these posts helps you find an answer for your clients.

Thanks Lucy for those links. Really useful.

Robin Broitman’s super list is amazing (if not a little too comprehensive?!).

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