Whaaat?

Not so long ago considered the poor stepchild to Google mighty search ads, display ads now are making a comeback more than two decades after making their debut on the Web.

Revenues from display ads, which include those not only those hated banners but, more to the point today, mobile, video, and so-called native ads, will overtake search ads this year, according to a new report from eMarketer.

Tell me more!

Search ads, which are mostly Google ads, edged out display ads in 2015, with $26.53 billion to display’s $26.15 billion. But this year, display ads will hit $32.2 billion to search’s $29.2 billion. And eMarketer reckons display, driven by banners (including native ads such as Facebook news feed ads and Twitter Promoted Tweets), video ads, and rich media ads, will continue to hold the lead until at least 2019, when they will reach $46.7 billion to search’s $40.6 billion.

This doesn’t actually mean Google is in imminent trouble. Search ads are still growing, even in the mobile age when people are doing relatively fewer searches (perhaps unless you count rapidly growing searches by voice). And Google also has not only a large if not as profitable business in syndicating display ads to some 2 million partner websites, it also has YouTube.

Although Facebook’s seemingly endless opportunities in display ads of many kinds means the trend could well continue, it’s no sure thing. Banners and video ads, not search ads, are the reason people are installing ad blockers left and right, on their phones and their computers. If that parallel trend continues, display ads may run into a slowdown once again.

My 2 cents:

Despite the rising trend and profitability of display ads (mainly on closed online platforms), Google is still in a safe place with its video ads potential through Youtube, but, most relevantly, display ads do suffer the blocker risks that I find very relevant. Another key point is that Facebook and Twitter ads can only take place on its platforms; if display ads do dodge blocking and reach a nativity level that users accept, Google stands to gain most in that it could incorporate display ads in the search realm while Facebook will always rely on users being on its platform.

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