Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sponsored Link Impressions Show Impressive Growth (eMarketer)

FEBRUARY 23, 2006According to new data from Nielsen//NetRatings, impressions served by Google and Yahoo!'s sponsored link advertising businesses, which include search and contextual advertising networks, grew by 16% between August 2005 and January 2006. Total impressions for both services reached 64.3 billion in the latter month.

Yahoo!'s total of 23.2 billion impressions in January 2006 was considerably lower than Google's total of 41.1 billion in the same month. However, Yahoo! showed stronger growth with impressions growing by 21% between August 2005 and January 2006, compared with Google's 14% increase over the same period.

The Yahoo! data includes ads served on Yahoo! Search as well as the company's publisher network. The Google data includes Google Web Search and the company's publisher network, but excludes other Google properties such as Froogle and Image Search.

By far the biggest purchasers of keywords were online auction and retail companies. eBay Inc. accounted for the largest share of sponsored search ads on both Google and Yahoo!, through both its eBay online auction site and its online retail operation, On Yahoo! eBay Inc. accounted for just over one billion sponsored link impressions, which comes to about 4.5% of Yahoo!'s search inventory. eBay's alone was the second-heaviest advertiser on both services, purchasing 501 million impressions Yahoo! and 448 million on Google.

On Google, eBay Inc. purchased just over 1.4 billion impressions last month, accounting for about 3.5% of all Google ad impressions.

Ken Cassar, chief analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, remains impressed by the current level of growth from the two major players. "Despite the overwhelming market share that Google and Yahoo! Search enjoy, they continue to see strong growth in the volume of sponsored links. While Google, in particular, seeks to diversify its revenue, it is a positive sign that its core search advertising business remains robust. E-commerce companies have always been the biggest users of search, and I suspect that that will be the case indefinitely," said Cassar. "[In addition], we will start to see brand advertisers using search increasingly as they become more comfortable with the Internet and their tactics evolve."


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