Digital advertising trends in 2012: The 10 biggest headlines of the year

Dec 10, 2012 | Facebook marketing, Online advertising, Social media

Despite the global economic gloom, online advertising spend and revenues continued to soar during 2012, outpacing all other media. Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon all made major moves this year as the battle lines for digital ad dollars online became blurred. As part of a new 2012 review series, We look back at […]

Despite the global economic gloom, online advertising spend and revenues continued to soar during 2012, outpacing all other media. Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon all made major moves this year as the battle lines for digital ad dollars online became blurred. As part of a new 2012 review series, We look back at our 10 most popular digital advertising news stories and trends of the year.

As consumers become more savvy and technology gets smarter, the big players jostled for dominance across markets and territories to appeal to advertisers, media owners and web users alike.
Google introduced a host of new ad tools, including TV-style branding metrics and AdWords for YouTube. Facebook launched its own third-party ad network and ‘Premium’ mobile ads, Microsoft rolled out its ‘metro-style’ Windows 8 format and Apple broke free of Google to cater for its own expanding ecosystem of iAds and iTunes.
On a global scale, China looks to be catching the US and UK in terms of ad revenues, and advertisers are beginning to target consumers on a more granular level, ditching large portals for niche interest sites.
View our top 10 biggest digital advertising headlines below.
Watch this space for updates on the top 10 mobile, search, social, ecommerce, multimedia, gaming and regulation news of the year- all coming this week.
Global online ad revenue to reach $143bn by 2017: US, UK and China lead the way
Global online advertising revenues will reach $143 billion in 2017, with the US still leading the market, with China catching fast, according to a new report. The Online Advertising Forecasts report, from Digital TV Research, estimates that the 2017 total is more than double the $66 billion recorded in 2010 and considerably up from the $92 billion predicted for 2012.
Global ad spend 2012: Web grows faster than all other media
The Internet was the fastest growing medium in terms of adspend during the first half of 2012, according to new data from Nielsen. Advertising is on the rise around the globe and across nearly all media types, according to Nielsen’s Global AdView Pulse report. Gains in areas such as Internet (+7.2%), radio (+6.6%) and TV (+3.1%) offset the 1.3 percent decline in magazine spending in the first half of 2012, leading overall advertising investment to be up 2.7 percent.
Ad targeting trends- Major portals losing ground to niche sites
Major portals such as MSN and Yahoo are losing their stronghold on consumer attention with many turning to sites specific to their interest, according to new research. The study, from Mediasyndicator commissioned research with YouGov (1,987 UK adults) in order to discover the types of websites consumers visit for content and the environments in which they are most engaged and open to advertising.
Google woos brands with ‘TV-style’ metrics for branding campaigns
Google has launched a new metric for online branding campaigns, with more emphasis and insight into how long ads have been viewed, rather than if they have been clicked. Named ‘Brand Activate’, the plan is designed to “reimagine online measurement for brand marketers,” according to a blog post from the company.
Microsoft posts first ever loss after £6bn online ad flop
Microsoft has warned that it will post a huge $6.2bn write-down in its fourth quarter, mostly related to the disappointing performance of online advertising business aQuantive it bought five years ago. The writedown signals that its online division will perform worse than the company projected. The non-cash charge means the company will probably post a loss for the quarter, which ended in June. Before this announcement, analysts had predicted that Microsoft would report profit of $5.3 billion in the period.
Google shuts down 130 million ads in ‘war on spam’
Google has claimed it has halved the number of so-called “bad ads” being displayed across its services, after boosting its detection methods and technology. The internet giant announced it has shut down about 800,000 advertisers and blocked over 130 million ads from showing up on its network.
UK video advertising trends: Media buyers reveal top metrics for consumer engagement
Advertisers are looking to increase spend on premium video sites this year, with ‘view-through rates’ becoming the key measurement for engagement, according to new research. The study, from marketing technology firm Collective, indicates that UK media buyers would pay a premium to place VoD campaigns against good quality content and strong brands rather than hitting ‘long tail’ (niche interest) websites.
Average brand marketing budgets revealed: UK brands ‘have significant digital strategy failings’
Whilst the majority (71%) of UK brands have a digital strategy in place, more than half (56%) do not have a roadmap for the next three to five years, according to the results of a new survey of marketers. The report, from Amaze, found that 37% of respondents admitted to not measuring the ROI from their digital activity and 52% say their social media initiatives do not meeting their objectives.
Newspaper ad trends- Digital revenues fail to match print ad losses
US newspapers are failing to offset their declining print ad revenues with new digital sales, according to new data. The study, from the Newspaper Association of America advertising statistics show $798 million in newspaper print losses for the first half of 2012. That is only slightly offset by a $32 million gain in digital. According to a political blog Poynter, this data shows that for every $25 loss from the costly print model, US newspapers are making just $1 from digital ad sales. This makes the ratio of losses to gains is 25 to 1.
Facebook opens to third party ad platforms for first time
Facebook will soon let advertisers participate in real-time bidding to show ads on its website, as the social network looks to boost its ad revenue amid mounting pressure from its new shareholders, according to a news report. A service called Facebook Exchange will let advertisers reach users based on their browsing history elsewhere on the Web. Advertisers can bid on ad slots on the social network.
Olympics 2012- how did the sponsors fare online?
The Olympics offers three levels of sponsorship to brands- worldwide, London-based and athlete-based. Social media app Wildfire (recently acquired by Google) has tracked the main sponsors’ activity on social media over the duration of the Olympics and looked at whether they have seen an uptake similar to that of the athletes.
Online ads: ‘Creepy and a bunch of B.S.’ say US consumers (infographic)
How do consumers view digital marketing? This poll of US consumers conducted by Adobe reveals that online ads still have some way to go to earn people’s attention ahead of TV and print ads. Adobe polled 1,250 US consumers and marketers’ views on online advertising. The survey reveals that almost half of the respondents agree ‘online advertising is creepy and stalks you’, and more than half agree that ‘most marketing is a bunch of B.S.’.
For a full review of the year, including our pick or the top virals, oddest news and biggest marketing blunders, click here

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