Internet Ad Revenue Pops Q1 Record with $8.4 Billion


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The 2012 fiscal year is off to a good start for internet advertising as the first quarter welcomed a record-breaking $8.4 billion in revenue, more than any previous first quarter. The news comes by way of the semi-annual Internet Advertising Report, compiled by Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC U.S., that found that this first-quarter record is a 15% increase over the first quarter of 2011, marking $1.1 billion more than last year.

Given that people are shooting from more screens than ever these days, that type of constant exposure and content searching seems like it could only yield better and more opportunities for online advertisers to generate revenue, and it's an opportunity they aren't going to let pass them by. “More online consumers than ever are taking to the internet to inform and navigate their daily lives—by desktop, tablet or smartphone,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “Marketers and agencies are clearly–and wisely–investing dollars to reach digitally connected consumers.”

David Silverman, Partner, PwC U.S., concurs that the internet is becoming a highly lucrative market for advertisers.

“The year-over-year growth between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 sets quite a milestone,” said he said. “Moreover, a 15% increase over the comparable period in 2011 is a solid affirmation the internet is delivering on its promise to attract consumers and the advertising dollars that follow.”

Earlier this year, eMarketer predicted that Facebook's ad revenue would climb up to $5 billion although the company's growth rate would probably stall out in subsequent years, during which time Google is expected to surpass Facebook and become the top seller of online ads.

In 2011, Facebook's online display ad revenue was $1.73 billion and is expected to increase to $2.58 billion in 2012, then more to $3.29 billion in 2013. Google's ad revenue was $1.71 billion in 2011, is expected to reach $2.54 billion in 2012, and then continue to increase to $3.68 billion in 2013. If eMarketer's predictions are true, and the other top five ad-selling companies - Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL - continue to increase their ad revenue this year as well, record-breaking online ad revenue might become a repeated story throughout 2012.