First Half Ad Revenue: Search Dominates PC Ads But Not Mobile


The IAB has released its first half 2014 digital advertising revenue figures. Total US digital revenues grew 15 percent compared with a year ago to $23.1 billion. Total second-quarter revenues were roughly $11.7 billion.

Paid search was the largest single category of online advertising, though its overall share of the pot declined from 43 percent to 39 percent in 2014. Actual dollars were just under $9.1 billion.

Display advertising followed search with roughly $6.5 billion (multiple formats). After that was mobile advertising with $5.3 billion for the first six months of 2014. That compares with $3 billion in mobile ad revenue last year at this time.

IAB 2014 first half

Search was also the largest slice of mobile advertising but not by much. The IAB said the following about the breakdown of mobile ad dollars in the first half:

  • Mobile search: $2.7 billion (51 percent)
  • Mobile display: $2.5 billion (47 percent)
  • Other: $103 million (2 percent) 

I would speculate that the principal reason that there’s less of a discrepancy between search and display in mobile is that there’s much more time spent in apps where display ads rule. Search is widely used in mobile but it’s less central to the user experience.

The above breakdown indicates how important mobile display is to Google’s future and why Facebook has such a big opportunity, with the number one app in terms of reach and time spent.

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