Facebook’s display ads are trouncing Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, it’s been announced, with a quarter of all impressions in the US captured through the social networking site. The news comes just a few months after the Facebook signed-up its 500-millionth user.
The simplicity, targeting genius and low cost of Facebook’s display ad engine has generated almost 300bn ad impressions, and increased Facebook’s online ad market share from 9.2% in Q3 2009 to 13.9% a year later.
That easily snagged the top gong from Yahoo sites (11% market share, 140bn impressions), with Microsoft in third (5%, 64bn) and Google trailing with 2.7% of display ad share.
Although Google is clearly the most important search engine in the traditional sense, Yahoo and Microsoft do own a hefty number of sites that people still like to visit on a very frequent basis – webmail sites for example: Windows Live Hotmail has 360m users, Yahoo mail around 280m and Gmail pushing 200m. Where Microsoft have really scored here is making it difficult to set up Hotmail on desktop email clients and mobiles (Gmail and Yahoo are a breeze), so users are beholden to their interface and therefore their ads too.
Facebook’s success in the display ads market is partly due to Mark Zuckerberg’s strategic decision to hire former Google ad chief David Fischer. And studies suggest that advertising to an extremely targeted market (e.g. women in Bristol, aged 29-31 who are engaged and like Harry Potter) is three times cheaper on Facebook, although it’s significantly more expensive than it was two years ago.
All of this is pretty bad news for Google, who embarked on a new drive to sell display ads with a big relaunch 2 months ago.
One of the key components of Google’s campaign is video – they’re using it to sell ads and incorporating the option in them. This isn’t such a stretch, given that they own YouTube. And it could just be their saving grace.
Google’s research says that “rich media ads with video lift purchase intent 4 times better than standard Flash banner ads. They raise awareness 5 times better and increase brand favourability by 15 times more.”
Video is a powerful medium and it’s no longer confined to the TV, YouTube and Vimeo – it can go almost anywhere on the web. That’s great news for us as an agency specialising in web video and Web 2.0. We can version and reversion video content for any campaign and distribute it through any channel. 9 times out of 10, we don’t even have to re-shoot.
We call that Video 2.0
Last year, only 6% of ads featured rich media content. In the next few months and years, expect that to rise and rise.