By Rip Empson
Best first quarter ever. Some good news in today from the online advertising industry: The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has announced that online advertising revenues hit $7.3 billion in the U.S. in the first quarter. While this does not represent the best quarterly performance in history (Q4 2010 takes the cake at $7.45 billion), it does mark the best first quarter on record, and reflects a 23 percent increase since the first quarter of 2010.
The overall numbers for 2010 were impressive, with total online ad revenues reaching $26 billion. Search made up 46 percent of that total in 2010, followed by display ads at 38 percent. But display advertising grew twice as fast as search (24 percent growth versus 12 percent), and, today, Karsten Weide of IDC says, display advertising continues to grow faster than search advertising.
Some other interesting tidbits from IDC’s report: Worldwide online ad spending grew by 14.3 percent from $15.9 billion in Q1 2010 to $18.2 billion in Q1 2011, and U.S. spending in online advertising increased by 14.2 percent from $7.1 billion in Q1 2010 to $8.1 billion in Q1 2011. The IDC forecasts U.S. online ad spending to grow 13.3 percent to $8.3 billion in Q2 2011 and 13.8 percent total in 2011.
Also of note: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) overtook Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) as the leader in display advertising, with 14.7 percent of the market compared with Yahoo’s 12.3 percent share. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) declined to 6.5 percent, while Facebook rose to 8.8 percent, according to Weide.
While some analysts expected online advertising revenues and spending to cool their jets this year, the data isn’t showing much reason to bet against 2011 becoming another banner year for digital advertising. Viva la Internet.