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Facebook Leads Display Advertising Resurgence

Display advertising increased 15% in the first quarter and total spending on display advertising reached $2.7 billion.

The online display advertising market grew significantly in the first quarter, with social network Facebook emerging as the market leader.

Online publishers showed a record 1.1 trillion display ads to U.S. Internet users in the quarter, a 15% increase from the same period a year ago, according to ComScore's quarterly report released Thursday. Total display ad spending reached $2.7 billion in the quarter, with the average cost per thousand impressions, or CPM, equal to $2.48.

The resurgence of the display advertising market reflects an improving economy that followed an economic recession that hit the ad industry in earnest in late 2008 and continued through the first three quarter of 2009, ComScore said.

"The first quarter of 2010 posted strong volume in online display ads, coinciding with increasing expenditure from advertisers and higher CPMs for publishers," ComScore Senior VP Jeff Hackett said in a statement. "This pickup in activity should bode well for the online advertising industry as we move forward in 2010."

Facebook led the market in the quarter with 176 billion display ad impressions, which represented a 16.2% market share. Yahoo, which had been the long-time market leader before beaten by Facebook, ranked second with 132 billion impressions, or 12.1%.

Rounding out the top five publishers were Microsoft, with a 5.5% share, Fox Interactive Media, 4.9%, and AOL, 2.9%. Google was number six with a 2.4% share. The search engine has been trying for years to raise its share of display ads, but its strength remains pay-per-click text search ads, a market it dominates.

The leading display advertiser is AT&T, which accounted for 26.3 billion impressions, or a 2.4% share. Rival Verizon Communications was second with a 2% share, followed by Scottrade, 1.5%; Experian Interactive, 1.4%; and Sprint Nextel, 0.9%.

Meanwhile, the Interactive Advertising Bureau on Thursday reported that the overall U.S. online advertising market in the first quarter reached a record $5.9 billion, a 7.5% increase over the same period a year ago.

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