UK Facebook ads rocket 33% in a year

The number of ads on Facebook has rocketed by a third in the last year as marketers increasingly look to harness the world's largest social networking site.

According to ComScore data, Facebook served 19.7bn ads in the UK during May 2010, up from 11.8bn a year before.

Traditional brand advertising is driving growth, led by the likes of Virgin Group, Telefonica Europe and Quick Credit Score.

The figures cement Facebook’s position as the biggest online advertising platform in the country, serving almost four times more ads than second-placed Microsoft Sites (4.7bn).

Google Sites, eBay and Yahoo Sites complete the top five, with 2.68bn, 2.71bn and 2.4bn ads in the month respectively.

The findings come as the world’s largest advertisers, including Procter & Gamble and Unilever, commit to increasing digital spend in general and on social media in particular.

Unilever’s global chief marketing officer Keith Weed plans to double digital spend over the next year and admitted last month to having recently held talks with Facebook and discovered "a mutual agenda".

Mike Read, managing director of ComScore Europe, said: "Facebook's popularity continues to surge not only with consumers but also with advertisers. With eight billion more ads on the site versus last year, there is a clear willingness to test Facebook's ability to drive brand engagement."

The remaining publishers to make the UK’s Top 10 sites in terms of volume of ads served are Yahoo Sites, AOL, Trader Media Group, Glam Media and Amazon.

However, Mark Redgrave, chief executive of semantic web service OpenAmplify, cautioned that the publishers displaying the most ads are not the most profitable.

"The last year has been the first year advertising has really taken off on Facebook and I think advertising will increase by more than a third again in the next year," he said. "But the key to the current growth is that it can only be measured in terms of volume, not value.

"Being there’s the easy bit, CPM rates are generally cheap, the hard bit comes when marketers try and fully engage. The technology now exists to really understand users based on conversations."

Facebook is preparing to launch a location-based app that will enable users to receive personalised information and advertising based on their current surroundings.

Speaking at the Cannes Ad Festival last month, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of Facebook, said: "It's a really important area, but it's also a very sensitive one, so we want to make sure we get it right. We're working on it. We're pretty close, we're happy with what we're getting to."

Top UK Ad Publishers, May 2010

    (Billions) (000)
  Total Internet : Total Audience 66,556 41,886
  Publisher Sites    
1 FACEBOOK.COM 19,687 31,242
2 Microsoft Sites 4,662 31,283
3 Google Sites 2,716 29,860
4 eBay 2,681 19,764
5 Yahoo! Sites 2,407 22,993
6 AOL LLC 1,116 9,644
7 Trader Media Group 745 4,730
8 Glam Media 715 13,996
9 TAGGED.COM 546 801
10 Amazon Sites 472 15,271

Source: ComScore



Top UK Ad Publishers, May 2009

    (Billions) (000)
  Total Internet : Total Audience 57,238 35,280
  Publisher Sites    
1 FACEBOOK.COM 11,765 22,362
2 Microsoft Sites 4,842 25,269
3 eBay 2,869 17,155
4 AOL LLC 2,351 13,507
5 Yahoo! Sites 2,038 20,640
6 Google Sites 1,115 24,842
7 Trader Media Group 776 3,827
8 Fox Interactive Media 773 7,988
9 TAGGED.COM 518 1,672
10 Amazon Sites 395 12,095

Source: ComScore

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