Making money in online display ad sales

Online display advertising is very big business these days. Just ask Facebook and Google about their performance this year – and watch them smile. According to research firm – eMarketer – the guerillas in the online display ad space are Facebook at 16.8% market share (selling $2.58 billion in online display ads) and Google at 16.4% market share (selling $2.54 billion). These two companies combine to have a third of the market for the U.S. display ads.

Consider the growth of these two firms compared to the previous leaders of Yahoo and Microsoft. In 2008, Yahoo held a 16.4% market share but dropped to 10.8% in 2011. AOL and Microsoft also continue to lose market share. What factors are causing the changes? And, how can smaller companies keep up with the giants?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Have students compare the growth trends in each chart. What are factors that might have caused the changes to the firms?
  2. Have students view the eMarketer information:
    1. What are recent stories?
    2. What are implications for marketers?
    3. What are implications for companies?
    4. What are trends in digital advertising and spending?
    5. Have students surf Facebook and Google for three minutes. How many, and what types, of online display ads did they see? What are implications for marketers?
    6. How might the growth in online display ad sales affect other media? Affect the messages used?


Source:   Ad Age, 2/22/12;

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