Internet ad revenue hits $17B, mobile ad revenues double in first half of 2012

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There’s good news for people who like free content and services online. And even better news for web publishers, search engines, and social sites who want to provide that content and services.

Internet ad revenues are up 14 percent in the first six months of 2012, hitting a new record $17 billion. And that 14 percent increase is dwarfed by mobile’s nearly doubling — a 95 percent increase — to hit $1.2 billion.

In addition, digital video ad revenue grew by 18 percent to just over $1 billion while search revenues for the first quarter were up 19 percent to $8.1 billion, and display ad revenue was up just four percent to $5.6 billion.

Those numbers were released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an advertising industry organization which has recently come under fire for opposing “do not track” technology that allows consumers to opt out of online tracking.

The growth in mobile is particularly interesting.

While certainly increasing from a smaller base, the near-doubling shows that mobile site and app revenue models depending on advertising are just starting to hit their stride. According to IAB numbers, the first few years of digital advertising from 1996 to 2000 showed triple-digit increases ranging from 110 percent to 320 percent annually, and if the pattern continues, mobile ad revenue has a long runway for growth.

Another interesting set of numbers focus on the type of publisher revenue model. Performance-based advertising, such as pay-per-click, has grown from 64 percent of advertising revenue in 2011 to 67 percent in 2012. Impression-based advertising, such as banners ads which are paid on a per-thousand-impressions basis, remained steady at 31 percent, while hybrid models decreased to only two percent.

“Solid double-digit growth in a stagnating economy is a significant accomplishment,” Sherrill Mane, and IAB vice-president, said in a statement. “There is evidence that CPMs are maintaining, and even increasing, further substantiating the vitality of the internet ad market.”

That’s good news for internet publishers — yes, that includes VentureBeat — and it’s good news for consumers who want free content and services.

Above: Internet ad revenues by year since 1996

Image Credit: IAB

Image credit: Million-dollar homepage


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