According to comScore, 1.1 trillion ads were served to U.S. internet users in the first quarter of 2011. Of those 1.1 trillion ads, 346 billion of those (31%) were on Facebook. That's right -- you read that correctly. Facebook now serves nearly one third of all online advertisements in the U.S.
To help put this data into perspective, consider the representation of some of the other major online companies. Yahoo has a 10 percent share, Microsoft has 5 percent, and Google holds 2.5 percent. Basically, no other online company comes close to Facebook's market share.
Clicks, Not Impressions
Facebook's dominance makes it clear that an impression isn't the metric online advertisers need to be concerned with. Instead, online marketers need to focus on click-through rates (CTR) and ultimately, lead and sale conversions. The massive volume of impressions has caused CTRs to decline. In 2010, Facebook ad CTRs were at .05% on average, which is half of the industry average. Additionally, the cost-per-click (CPC) for Facebook ads rose from $.27 in 2009 to $.49 in 2010. With more advertisers adopting Facebook's advertising platform, it is likely that CPC will continue to rise.
ComScore's data demonstrates that Facebook's dominance in the online marketing industry is growing. However, marketers should infer that this dominance will make it even more difficult and expensive to generate results. As a marketer, you should continue to experiment with Facebook and use free tools like Facebook Pages to drive traffic and leads to your website.
What do you think about this new Facebook data?
Originally published May 4, 2011 3:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017