Leading Indicators for Online Ad Growth

When viewed in aggregate, the three top portals -- Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL -- account for nearly one-third of all online advertising dollars, according to eMarketer. Portal leader Yahoo!, in particular, is an excellent indicator of the broad state of online advertising, since its revenue includes both Web site display and rich media advertising, as well as paid search through its Overture division. So when the Sunnyvale, Calif-based company reported its Q1 and Q2 revenue results in April and July, respectively, the figures became a clear marker for the significant upward trend in online ad spending. Take Yahoo!'s marketing services revenues, which are derived primarily from online advertising. They reached $635.5 million in Q1 2004, a spectacular 234.5% gain from the $190.0 million figure posted in last year's Q1. And in Q2 2004, the company's marketing services revenues jumped 215.1% over 2003's second quarter. Put together, total first half marketing services revenues grew by 224.1%, this year over last. Or as Safa Rashtchy, the Internet analyst for Piper Jaffray, commented about Yahoo!'s Q1 2004 results, "It was just awesome."


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