Report: Facebook and Google Sprint Ahead in U.S. Display Sales

Two Upstarts Increasingly Leaving Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL in Their Rear-View Mirrors

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Facebook is expected to bring in the most U.S. online display revenue for the second year in a row, according to new estimates from research firm eMarketer. The researcher forecasts that Facebook will sell $2.58 billion in online display in the U.S. in 2012, good for 16.8% market share, while Google will finish the year with $2.54 billion, or 16.5% market share. It predicts that the two companies combined with own a third of the U.S. display market this year.

But eMarketer expects Google to surpass Facebook next year, with $3.68 billion in U.S. display revenue, or 19.8% of the market, compared with Facebook's $3.29 billion and 17.7%.

The meteoric rise of these two display-market powerhouses is remarkable considering where they and their competitors were just a few years ago. Yahoo owned 18.4% of the market in 2008 but finished 2011 with a 10.8% share; eMarketer estimates that to drop to 9.1% this year. Microsoft and AOL also continue to lose share.

EMarketer attributes its upward projections for Google to "stronger-than-expected" results in the company's mobile-display business and YouTube's tighter focus on making the platform a home for premium display inventory.

Facebook's total worldwide revenue should get to $6.1 billion this year, eMarketer estimates, vs. $3.7 billion last year, with total ad revenue hitting $5 billion, or 83% of total revenue.

Google continues to own the overall digital ad market, with a 41% share in 2011 and a projected 44.9% by the end of this year.

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