Large brand advertisers continued to grow their investment in digital advertising in 2011, with an increasing number delivering at least 1 billion display ads per quarter throughout the year, according to [download page] a February 2012 report from comScore. In Q4, 145 different advertisers delivered more than 1 billion impressions, representing a 38% increase from 105 in Q4 2010, and a 4.3% rise from 139 the prior quarter.
The number of advertisers delivering at least 3 billion impressions also jumped, from 26 in Q4 2010 to 46 in Q4 2011.
AT&T was the top display advertiser in 2011, a position it has held for several years now. The telecom company delivered close to 106 billion ad impressions during the year, followed distantly by Experian Interactive, with 67.6 billion. Verizon Communications ranked third with 49.5 billion impressions during the year, ahead of Scottrade, with 44 billion. Google made its debut in the top 10 in 2011, delivering more than 40.4 billion impressions, featuring heavy promotion of services such as Google Chrome, Google Offers, and Google+.
Google’s investment appears to have paid off: according to February 2012 analysis from Compete, the popularity of Google+ has showed dramatic growth recently. Tracking the the landing page for the main feature of the social network, the +1 button (google.com/+1/button, or plusone.google.com), beginning in November 2011, Compete found that the page drew over 40 million unique visitors in December alone, with more than 10 times that amount in visits, while also passing 3 billion page views.
Meanwhile, Google Chrome held 18.7% share of the US browser market in December 2011, representing a 50% increase from 12.4% a year earlier, and challenging Firefox, which dropped to 20.1% share from 26.9%, for the second rank, according to December 2011 figures from StatCounter.
Data from comScore’s “US Digital Future in Focus” indicates that Facebook was easily the leading publisher of display ads in 2011, with more than 1.3 trilling impressions, representing 27.9% market share. This was more than double the impressions served by its closest competitor, Yahoo sites, at 529 billion. After that, there was another significant drop-off to the next publishers, Microsoft sites (215.6 billion impressions), Google sites (174 billion impressions), and AOL (131.4 billion).
Facebook was certainly a beneficiary of the growth in display advertising in 2011: according to the social network’s February 2012 SEC filing, its advertising revenue reached $3.15 billion in 2011, representing an increase of almost 69% from $1.87 billion in 2010, and more than tripling from $764 million in 2009.
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