Digital media measurement company comScore on Monday released third-quarter data which shows that the U.S. online display advertising market is growing rapidly -- and social networking leader Facebook is atop the pack.
According to Ad Metrix, comScore's online advertising research service, nearly "1.3 trillion display ads were delivered to U.S. Internet users during the third quarter, marking a 22-percent increase versus year ago."
That's pretty healthy growth, especially during a fairly weak recovery from a severe global recession.
comScore senior vice president Jeff Hackett cited several "growth drivers" that have contributed to the upswing.
“The ability to buy specific audiences is enabling a greater number of display ads to be delivered on target, display formats are improving at a rapid rate, and the quality of creative is getting better every day," Hackett said in a statement. "As publishers prove the value of online display ad campaigns, digital should continue to carve out a bigger piece of the advertising pie.”
Facebook.com registered 297 billion display ad impressions in Q3 -- OK, that's a mind-boggling number -- or 23.1 percent market share. That's up from 9.2 percent market share in last year's third quarter.
The beleaguered Yahoo finished second, with its various sites logging 140 billion impressions, or 11 percent.
But what about Google? Why is the online search giant ranked a lowly fifth, behind even Fox Interactive News, with a mere 2.7 percent of online display ads in Q3? comScore doesn't directly address this, but I'd say the answer can be found in the note at the bottom of the chart below, which explains that the stats don't include video ads, house ads and "very small ads." Google's AdSense program tends to feature text ads and small box ads. I'm sort of guessing here, but I can't think of another explanation.