Report: Google Now Owns Nearly Half of the Online Advertising Market

ZenithOptimedia says search giant controlled 44.1% of the market in 2010, up from 41.9% in 2009

When it comes to online advertising, there’s Google and then there’s not much else.

That’s the takeaway from a  ZenithOptimedia survey released Monday. The search giant gobbled up 44.1 percent of the global internet advertising market share in 2010, according to the study. That’s up from 41.9 percent the previous year.

Controlling nearly half of the online advertising pie is certainly good news for the search company, but the overall ad picture for traditional and new media got a little dicier last month.

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Though ZenithOptimedia touts the fact that overall ad spending is projected to jump 3.5 percent globally in 2011 and 4.7 percent in 2012, as Peter Kafka at AllThingsDigital points out, that’s been revised down from October’s forecast of 3.6 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively.

All told, ZenithOptimedia predicts global ad expenditures will end this year at $464 billion and rise to $486 billion in 2012. Online ads will continue to grow much faster than any medium, however, with web spending projected to jump from 15.9 percent in 2011 to 21.2 percent in 2014.

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To get a sense of just how vast a shadow Google casts over the digital space, the next biggest player is Yahoo with 8.3 percent of the market.

To make matters worse, that percentage is going in the wrong direction. Yahoo commanded 9.6 percent the previous year, but has seen that number erode as the company has struggled to keep pace with the other Silicon Valley titans.

Also faltering is AOL, which saw its share of the market fall from 2.2 percent to 1.5 percent last year. Contrast that with 2006, when the internet provider and content maker controlled 6.3 percent of the market. 

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That's not the story Facebook is writing. The social network saw its market share jump to 3.1 percent in 2010, as opposed to 1.4 percent in 2009. The survey projects that at Facebook's current rate of growth, the company will overtake Microsoft's market share in 2011. 

From television to newspapers, the European debt crisis is slowing sales in the developed world, but the survey says that most of the increase in global ad expenditure is now coming from developing markets.

ZenithOptimedia forecasts that the emerging regions, which include Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America, will contribute 58 percent of new ad dollars between 2011 and 2014. 

Buoyed by modest rises in employment levels and a decline in foreclosure rates, North America is proving to be a resilient source of ad sales. The media services groups forecasts 3.6 percent growth in North American ad expenditure in 2012, which will rise to 3.7 percent in 2013 and 4.4 percent in 2014.