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Internet Ad Revenue Breaks Record, Mobile Achieves 111% YOY Growth

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Internet advertising revenues in the United States totaled a record $10.31 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, an increase of 12% from the third quarter of 2012 and up 15% from the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a report by IAB and PwC.

Mobile revenue surged 111% in 2012 to $3.4 billion, building on 2011’s record-breaking 149% year-over-year rise to $1.6 billion. Mobile accounted for 9% of total Internet ad revenue in 2012.

Below, additional key findings from the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report:

Search and Display Continue to Lead

  • Search revenues in 2012 totaled $16.9 billion, or 46% of 2012 revenues, up 14.5% from $14.8 billion in 2011.
  • Display-related advertising revenues in 2012 totaled $12 billion, or 33% of 2012 revenues, up almost 9% from $11 billion in 2011.
  • Digital video brought in $2.3 billion, marking a significant year-over-year increase of 29% in 2012, compared with $1.8 billion in 2011.

Top 10 Ad-Selling Companies Command Market

  • Online advertising remains concentrated with the 10 leading ad-selling companies, which accounted for 72% of total revenues in 4Q12, up slightly from the 71% reported in 4Q11.
  • Companies ranked 11th to 25th accounted for 10% of revenues in 4Q12, down slightly from the 11% reported in 4Q11. Companies ranked 26th to 50th accounted for 7% in 4Q12, down from the 8% reported in 4Q11.


Ad Revenue Percentages by Industry Category

  • Retail advertisers, despite an overall decline, still constitute the largest category of Internet ad spending, accounting for 20% of revenues in 2012, down from the 22% reported in 2011.
  • Financial services advertisers were the next highest spenders, accounting for 13% of revenues in 2012, consistent with the 13% reported in 2011.

About the research: The report was compiled directly from information supplied by companies selling advertisements on the Internet. The study included revenue data from websites, commercial online services, free email providers, and other companies selling online advertising. 


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and the co-founder of Inbound ContentWorks, a marketing agency that specializes in content creation for businesses and brands. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His past experience includes working for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Robin Williams Thu May 23, 2013 via web

    On the release of the report, PwC’s David Silverman highlighted three significant trends such as increasing use of multiple screens as leading to new available “ad inventory”, Mobile devices with increasingly refined screen resolutions and most significantly, digital ad agencies and related businesses are still coming to terms with selling advertising for mobile. The result has made it clear that the growth of internet advertising has outpaced other media channels in the US since 2005.

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