However, it’s worth noting that in recent quarters, Google has promised less of a focus on ads and more of an emphasis on its hardware business. Wall Street analysts have also identified Google's display business as robust, but have expressed concerns over margins.
Although Facebook and Google dominated in digital display ad revenue, Amazon and AOL are also worth watching. Amazon will generate $172 million in display ad revenue this year (not including search), according to eMarketer. The ecommerce giant has in recent months been experimenting with new ad formats, including incorporating video into ecommerce ad placements.
“We haven’t seen results yet, so it’s kind of hard to say, exactly, but the new ad formats are certainly something we’re keeping an eye on and watching closely,” Marcec said. “In terms of where Amazon is right now and will be in the next two to three years, it’s similar in size in the US as AOL in overall digital ad spending,” including search.
Specific to display, AOL’s growth had dropped off pretty significantly for a long time, Marcec said, but because of the company’s seeming commitment to “programmatic, video and [renewed] ad pricing, they’ve been seeing some success now, which is pushing their growth back in the double digits.”
While eMarketer pinned AOL’s display ad revenue growth rate at 9.6% last year, the research firm expects this rate to increase to 15.5% this year. Yahoo, on the other hand, underperformed with a -6.4% growth rate in digital display ad revenue last year. EMarketer had considered such factors as lower inventory levels and short-term revenue losses as a result of internal restructures. This is reflected in Yahoo’s net display ad revenues for the United States, which dropped from $1.35 billon in 2012 to $1.26 billion last year.
Yahoo is on course for a modest improvement this year, and will experience 2.2% estimated growth in digital display ad revenue. Slight growth would put the company at an estimated $1.29 billion this year. However, the volatility due to organizational changes and continued acquisitions is still apparent – eMarketer estimates that the 2.2% growth rate in digital display ad spend this year could dip again to 2% in 2015.
Although Marcec noted Yahoo is making an effort to gather new ad revenue streams around video and Tumblr, "we haven't seen enough results yet to predict any significant changes long-term."