August 26, 2008 |
Today comScore released a press release detailing its statistics on online display advertising in June – both largest publishers and largest advertisers. The data is quite predictable and I believe many of us (I mean, those that choose not to enable any ad blockers in their browsers): Microsoft is the largest advertiser followed by University of Phoenix (advertising its online aducation programs), Experian Interactive (advertising its sites LowerMyBills and FreeCreditReport), United Online (owner of Classmates which pushes ads to web users everywhere), Verizon, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile owner), Vonage, Netflix, and Ask Network. The largest publishers included Fox Interactive, Yahoo!, AOL, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, eBay, Viacom Digital, Comcast, Glam Media.
There are some notable things about the stats. For example, it is worth mentioning that quite a number of the largest advertisers are still technology companies and websites which proves that the companies that heavily rely on online advertising are those that target the most tech-savvy population with their technology products. These are the companies that have been (and still seem to remain) the early adopters of online advertising.
Another interesting thing is that Google, the famous internet giant and the household name for many web users is only on the 5th position as a publisher with only 1.5% of the total display ads shown on all the websites owned by Google. This figure is even more interesting when compared to 15.9% of Fox Interactive. The media giant served a total of 52.3 billion ad views with MySpace responsible for the majority of these views – 51 billion. But this has nothing to do with Google having less traffic than Fox’ properties:
The only thing it actually proves is that Google does not use display ads a lot – instead it relies (obviously) on text-based ads from Google Adwords advertisers while Fox and MySpace must rely heavier on display advertising that seem to appeal more both to TV content consumer and young MySpace audience.
Another thing to be noted is that MySpace is still well ahead of the web 2.0 darling Facebook, no matter how enthusiastic we are about Facebook climbing to the position of the largest social network.
But what I personally find the most interesting is not what brands are advertised the most and what sites serve the most pageviews to their visitors. What I find interesting is the actual figures accompanying the names. And these figures demonstrate that there is money to be made in the long tale. For you to understand what I’m talking about I have drawn a few charts to illustrate my thoughts.
First of all, let’s take a look at the shares of pageviews served by the largest publishers. While the total number of ad views served to internet users in the US amounted to almost 330 billion, all the 10 largest publishers accounted together for 43% of the total display ads view. And while this is a huge figure, it is still not even half of the total volume and I believe it proves to a certain extent that there is some money to be made in the long tail for smaller publishers as well – and not only on links from Google Adsense:
This trend is even more visible in the chart for largest advertisers:
It is notable that even the largest advertisers account for less than 2% of the ads served each (even with Microsoft’s efforts to promote its Live Search as heavy as they can) and this must prove that we are now seeing diversification of advertisers jumping on the bandwagon of display ads. We see that all the largest advertisers combined accounted for 11.9% of ads shown while the remaining 88.1% have been distributed between other smaller companies. This is a healthy trend, I believe, that demonstrates that online display advertising is now attracting attention of many companies willing to demonstrate their brands to online users. I will be sure to continue comparing the information when subsequent press releases are issued with the same information for the following months and I hope time will make this trend even more noticeable.
But still the most intriguing piece of information in the press release to make some conclusions about is the number of unique internet users exposed to online display ads. All the internet publisher together served their ads to over 180 million of users in the states with Yahoo actually reaching the vast majority of them (even if it is on the 2nd place with the number of ad views served) – 130.7 million of people or 72.4% of all the people reached by display advertising. So we may continue grumbling about Yahoo decline all we want but there’s no denying the company properties are still the best place to reach the majority of web audience with your message – either with an ad or with your post if it makes it to the top of now open to all publishers Yahoo Buzz.