Online Ad Revenues Hit Record $31.7B in 2011, Surpass Cable TV
Internet advertising revenues reached a record $31.74 billion in 2011, representing a 21.9% increase from $26.04 billion in 2010, according to figures released in April by the Internet Advertising Bureau and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
This was the most rapid year-over-year growth since 2007 (26%), and drove online ad revenues past cable TV ad revenues (including national networks and local cable TV), which were $30 billion. Looking back over the past 10 years, the report notes that online ad revenues have a compound annual growth rate of 20.3%, with 29 of 36 quarters since 2003 seeing positive growth.
Search remained the top advertising format by revenue share, a position it has held since 2006. Search accounted for 46.5% of 2011 revenues, up almost 4% from 44.7% in 2010. In dollar terms, search revenues reached $14.8 billion, representing an increase of close to 27% from $11.7 billion the previous year.
Display-related ad revenues was the next-largest category, at 34.8% share, comprised of display banner ad (21.5%), rich media (4.1%), digital video (5.7%), and sponsorship (3.5%). Total display-related revenues were $11.1 billion, marking a 15% rise from $9.6 billion in 2010. While display banner ad and rich media both declined in their share of total revenues, digital video and sponsorship each saw roughly a 1% point increase in share.
Classifieds revenues accounted for 8.1% of 2011 revenues, down from 10% in 2010. In dollar terms, 2011 revenue was $2.6 billion, unchanged from the previous year.
Mobile took 5% share of the 2011 revenues, up from 3% in 2010. This was the fastest-growing category, rising 149% to $1.6 billion, from $641 million in 2010. Mobile revenues fueled 3.7% of the total online ad revenue growth of 22%.
The share of total revenues held by lead generation fell from 5.1% to 4.8%, although the dollar amount of lead generation revenues grew 15% from $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion.
Email revenues accounted for the smallest share of revenues, at 0.7%, unchanged from 2010, with 9% growth in dollar amount from $195 million to $213 million.
Retail advertisers represented the largest vertical in terms of internet ad spending, at 22% share, slightly up from 21% last year. Retail industry spending in 2011 stood at $7.1 billion, up 21% from $5.5 billion a year earlier.
Financial services was the next-largest vertical, at 13% share, or $4.1 billion, up from 12% share (and $3.2 billion in spending) in 2010. Financial services overtook telecom, which fell from 13% share in 2010 to 12% share in 2011, although spending rose from $3.5 to $3.9 billion.
Automotive advertisers (11%; $3.5 billion) and computing advertisers (8%; $2.7 billion) rounded out the top 5 verticals, both with unchanged share of total revenues from 2010.
Leisure travel (8%), consumer packaged goods (6%), pharmaceuticals and healthcare (5%), media (5%), and entertainment (4%) were the other verticals comprising the top 10.
Ads using performance-based models increased from 61% to 64% share of the total revenues. Impression-based ad share of spend fell from 33% to 31%, continuing a decline begun in 2007.
Hybrid ads accounted for the remaining 4% share of online ad revenue, which is significantly down from 13% share in 2005.
Performance-based pricing held 64% share of revenues in Q4, up slightly from 63% in Q4 2010. The CPM model held steady at 32% share, while hybrid decreased from 5% to 4% in that period.
Search accounted for 46% share of spend in Q4 2011, up from 43% in Q4 2010. Display-related advertising held 35.3% share, comprised of display banner ads (22%), digital video (5.5%), sponsorship (4.2%), and rich media (3.5%).
The online advertising space remained concentrated in Q4 2011, with the top 10 ad-selling companies accounting for 71% of total revenues, down marginally from 72% a year earlier. Overall, the top 50 companies commanded 90% of online ad revenues in Q4 2011.