online advertising

Do you advertise your business online? Or are you stuck in the dark-ages of print ads, radio spots, and this new-fangled horseless carriage?

2014 will be the year in which small businesses find success with online advertising. It’ll be the year that the little guy really notices and takes advantage of the fact they can get a better ROI with online ads than they can with TV spots or flyers. A lot better.

Let’s take a look at 25 online statistics, starting with the field of online advertising as a whole and moving on to Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads and Instagram Ads.

Online Advertising

1. Clicking on an ad on a social site is often the first step toward a sale, rather than the last.

Because of this, advertisers are undervaluing social advertising by as much as 116%.

Many advertisers or marketers don’t see the true dollar value of online advertising – not understanding that lead generation or a click on a Google or Facebook Ad is the beginning of their sales funnel, not the end.

2. Ad revenue is up 36% from 2011 to 2013 (86.4 billion to 117.6 billion).

In just two years the revenue generated from online advertising has increased by more than 31 billion dollars – with the largest platform by far being Google Adwords.

3. It’s estimated that by 2016, online ad spend in the US will have doubled since 2011, hitting 67.4 billion dollars/ year (13.7% compound annual growth).

This estimate is conservative given the increases in effectiveness of online ads in the past few years, as well as the decline of print media.


4. The top three video ads of 2006 earned a combined 244,395 shares.

In 2013 the top three generated a total of more than 12 million shares – an increase of almost 5000%.

Social shares massively increase the virality of an advertisement. A advertising video on Youtube can, almost instantaneously, be shared through Facebook and Twitter. This is not to mention the power of a YouTube video embed.

5. The top three Youtube Ads of 2013 were Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” GEICO’s “Hump Day,” and Evian’s “Baby and Me”.

These ads had several things in common. They all plucked at emotional heartstrings, whether it was humor, nostalgia or inspiration. They were all significantly longer than 30 seconds, as well. Real Beauty Sketches, this year’s winner, is 3 minutes in its shortened version, and the complete ad 6 and a half.


6. The most viral online ad this year was ‘Dove Beauty Sketches’ with 4.24 million shares since its release in April.

Not only is the ad the most shared ad of 2013, it is the most viewed video ad of all time with 114 million views (including embeds).

Translated into 25 different languages, the ad also drove 6,803 subscriptions to Dove’s YouTube Channel, almost a quarter of their total subscriptions. The ad was never front-page and went viral almost solely do to shares.

7. A YouTube homepage ad typically costs around $400,000. On average, the homepage receives 60 million views from 23 million unique users every day.

However, none of the three most successful YouTube Ads from 2013 started as homepage ads. As I mentioned, their success (and the success of all YouTube Ads) stems almost entirely from embeds and shares across the web.

8. YouTube’s monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly 10 Super Bowl audiences.

Super Bowl ads are limited to 30 seconds and, for XLVIII, will cost more than 10 times as much.

Fox asked up to 4.5 million dollars for a 30 second ad spot during the 2014 Super Bowl. This is up from 3.8 in 2013. All slots sold out on the December 4th for the February 2nd event.


9. 65% of Twitter Ad revenue is from mobile tablets and smart phones.

This isn’t that surprising a statistic, as 75% of all Twitter users access it from a mobile device. In its October 3rd S-1 form (in which it formally announced its going public) the word mobile was mentioned 130 times in the 160 page document.

10. 87% of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising.

This number will only increase, as the mobile statistic was only 66% in June of 2012 (compared to 75% in June of 2013).


11. Twitter delivered 400% the revenue per visit in 2013 than it did in 2011: 44 cents versus 11 cents.

Traffic from Twitter is making more money for advertisers than it ever has before. People are more accustomed to Twitter Ads, and the initial backlash has exhausted itself.


12. The average click-through-rate for Facebook Ads has jumped 275% since 2012.

This is primarily due to the improved targeting abilities of Facebook Ads, and the use of tools like Power Editor and 3rd Party Facebook Ad Tools. Also the grudging acceptance by users that Facebook Ads being a part of the Facebook news feed.

13. The average click-through-rates for retailers who use Facebook Ads are up 375%.

Retailers get a higher CTR as it’s easier for them to include an appealing ad image and value proposition understandable to their audience. However, B2B and SaaS businesses can still create awesome Facebook Ads, check out the comprehensive guide to Facebook Ads if you’re interested in optimizing your ads.

14. A study of more than 200 billion ads on Facebook says that mobile ads on iPhone generate 1,790% more return on investment than ads on Android.

This statistic comes from a reputable marketing company, Nanigans, responsible for buying a huge number of Facebook Ads for their clients. Most experts who read this statistic – which is not explained in concrete terms by Nanigans themselves – put the remarkable disparity down to iPhone’s wealthier user base (about 60% of whom make between 50 and 150,000 p.a., compared to 45% of Android users).


15. ROI on Facebook Ads increased 152% between 2013 and 2012.

Again, I put this increase down to a greater understanding of the targeting capabilities of Facebook Ads. Targeting half-nurtured leads (whether through custom audience, lookalike audience, or specific interests/categories) results in far higher conversion rates (and larger purchases) than just throwing out your Facebook Ad to the general population.

16.Walmart is getting a marketing equivalent of 1000% higher ROI on Facebook and Twitter compared to other advertising spends. During Black Friday, they were getting 42 comments every minute on their posts.

With the largest Facebook Fan-base, Walmart excels at promoting deals and creating a sense of community. It doesn’t hurt that their advertising budget for 2013 was 1.89 billion dollars).


17. At least 95% of Google’s total revenue comes from advertising (this, of course, includes YouTube).

In the third quarter of 2013 alone Google made $14.9 billion – meaning they made more than 14 billion from AdWords and AdSense. So this is how they were able to afford 8 robotics companies this week…

18. Google rakes in 33% of all online ad revenue (38.6 billion out of 117.6 billion). Facebook rakes in around 5% by comparison.

This is almost entirely because Facebook has a negligible advertising presence outside of North America, in which AdWords and AdSense are still dominant. Within the US and Canada, the platforms are far closer.

19. The average click-through rate for a Google ad is 3.16%. An ad in the first position has an average click-through-rate of more than 7%.

Google’s advantage is that its ads are triggered by search keywords. People are actively looking for the subject of the ads they see. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube have to find a way to draw the attention of platform users away from the subject they’re there for.


20. As of Fall 2012, Google had over 1.2 million businesses advertising on its search network.

In addition, Google AdSense has more than 2 million publishers (who made a combined $7 billion in 2012).

21. Google AdWords has grown 22% this year. Google AdSense’s growth, on the other hand, has plateaued, with no growth at all.

$GOOG’s Q3 report showed zero growth for AdSense compared with 22% yearly growth for its AdWords network. Though it’s not completely clear why this has happened, some experts are citing changes in ‘advertising policy’. Could this have anything to do with the somewhat illegitimate AdSense publishers who have been pirating content and spamming internet users?


22. Ben & Jerry’s has run 4 ads since Instagram Ads started in late October. They’ve generated 50,000 new fans in less than 2 months.

Ben & Jerry’s Instagram profile growth since October is one of the fastest of any brand on social media ever.

23. Ben & Jerry’s first ad was the most liked with 386,877, an increase of 2,000% from their average post.

This statistic goes to show that Ben & Jerry’s did the best job of choosing the right image for their first Instagram Ad – resulting in far less backlash than the other brands who initially tested the ad service.


24. Since Ben & Jerry’s started using ads, their average daily growth in followers has gone from 429 to 7,200.

Though this statistic has since gone down (after an initial surge) it is telling. Brand engagement is at least 50% caused by people seeing your brand – no matter their response to it.

25. Despite Ben & Jerry’s success, the other advertisers (though seeing huge increases in brand involvement on the platform) are receiving more negative comments than positive overall.

The other four brands that introduced Instagram Ads to its user-base (especially Lexus), received strongly-worded negative responses. This just goes to show that unless your product is clearly, massively appealing (like ice cream), be prepared for some backlash on Instagram Ads.


Hopefully you have a better idea of the differences between the major online advertisers. It seems, for now, that Google is still in the driver seat. But who knows what’s coming over the 2014 horizon?

Have you had success, or frustrations, with online advertising? Which of the platforms do you like the most?

Start the conversation below!

By James Scherer @ Wishpond

For a comprehensive guide to Facebook Advertising, check out the ebook below!

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