Google Expands Ad Industry Dominance, Facebook Catching Up

Facebook is now the fastest-growing major media supplier to Madison Avenue, but Google remains No. 1, according to the 2015 edition of the “Top Thirty Global Media Owners” report from Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia unit.

While Facebook is sprinting fast, Google is now 136% bigger than the world’s second-largest media owner, Disney, up from 115% a year earlier. It is also bigger than Disney and the third-largest, Comcast, combined.

The rankings, which are based on ZenithOptimedia’s analysis of estimated advertising-derived media revenues, were launched in 2007, and was last published in 2014.

“Google has benefited from the rising sales of smartphones and tablets, making its central search function available to consumers on the move -- especially useful for shoppers looking for price comparison -- and allowed consumers to view content at times and places most convenient for them,” the report explains of Google’s growing dominance, adding: “This has created new opportunities to target them with display ads, another important component of Google’s business. But the main beneficiary of the transition to mobile has been Facebook, which is the fastest growing of our top 30 media owners. Facebook’s media revenues grew 63% over the past year.”

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The report notes that mobile is also driving most of the other Top Thirties, especially Facebook, which now ranks No. 10 overall.


Source: ZenithOptimedia's "Top Thirty Global Media Owners" report, 2015.

6 comments about "Google Expands Ad Industry Dominance, Facebook Catching Up".
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  1. Matthew Goldstein from MSG INC, May 11, 2015 at 12:11 p.m.

    FB will be #2 by 2017

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 11, 2015 at 12:48 p.m.

    Joe, I wonder how those ranikngs would look if there was an acceptable way to separate branding dollars from all of the rest---search, sales service, direct response, etc. At present, TV leads digital by a huge margin in this regard---despite gains by digital, mainly in the video arena. Digital's share should continue to rise, but it will be many years before it dominates the field where branding ad campaigns are concerned----if this even happens.

  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, May 11, 2015 at 1:15 p.m.

    @Ed: I think it would. But let me ask you, do you even know how to separate branding from things like search, sales and DR? I'm not sure it's as easily delineated as it once was. But I would guess Google, Facebook and other digital biggies are weighted heavily toward performance KPIs vs. branding, if only because they generate immediate data to measure the performance.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 11, 2015 at 2:59 p.m.

    @Joe, I agree, it's not a clear cut distinction as there's always going to be some measure of overlap in the copy. I recall, when Nielsen first launched its online rating sevice that it turned out a lot of "dimensional" reports and one of them attempted to separate branding from other forms of online ads---I don't know how the distinction was made. As I recall, the branding percentage was very small. I recently talked to someone with access to a good deal of hard data who did a similar analysis and he reported the same thing.

    In recent years, I've done some of this, myself---taking random sets of ads and making mostly subjective judgements. I, too, get a very small percentage of "pure" branding ads for online, but that figure is obviously growing, mainly due to digital video. The last time I tried it, I included direct response and other types of ads, where one could make a case for a split between the two functions, as branding ads and came up with a guesstimate that 15% of online ads were "branding" ads. Even so, if half of these are really part branding and part something else, they are probably funded by different budgets and run by different advertiser departments and promotional specialist agencies.

    Whatever the real online figure is---10%, 12%, 15%, etc., it must be compared with well over 90% of TV commercials being of the branding variety---- which means that TV is still far ahead of online in branding ad dollars. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of magazine and radio ads are also in the branding genre, so when we look at the total ad spend credited to online as exceeding those media, the same point I made about TV also applies.

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 11, 2015 at 3:07 p.m.

    @ Joe, I should add that one way to determine whether an ad is a branding message or something else, is by seeing who bought it and who funded it. If a branding agency like Y&R or BBDO, working for the marketing group of an advertiser buys the time or space, then its a branding effort. If the same client's sales promotion department places the business directly or uses a promotional shop to do so, even if there are "branding elements" in the ads, one might reasonably dub such spending as non-branding. I wonder if any of the entities that tracks media spending has tried such an analysis? It might be very interesting to see the breakdowns.

  6. Jim Meyer from GroupM, May 18, 2015 at 6:50 a.m.

    Ed, that's a really smart coding idea, with the additional virtue of being simple - especially with respect to separating brand spending from the rest. As you guys point, all the shades and variations make it very tough to decipher strategic intent at the executional level. But looking back at the source of spending clarifies things quickly. Safe to say for purposes of estimation that if a branding agency buys it, it's brand.

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