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In 2006, portals experienced a rebirth, with ad spending for that segment leaping to 24 percent from 13 percent, according to figures contained in Avenue A/Razorfish’s 2007 Digital Outlook Report.
AA-RF’s 2006 online media billings totaled $542 million, which was spread across 863 sites, an increase of 30 percent compared to 2005 and 74 percent over 2004’s spending.
While noting that sites like MSN, Yahoo and AOL experienced harsh criticism at some point during the year, portals as a billings category gained a substantial piece of the online media billings pie. That category’s share increase still places it behind verticals, which captured 37 percent of ad spending, and search, which got a 28 percent slice, down from 2005’s 31 percent. The ad network category was the smallest, as its collective share of billings dipped to 11 percent from 12 percent the year before.
The 75-page report’s big news is centered on AOL. With a graph highlighting the Time Warner company’s decision to move to a free, ad-supported model on Aug. 6, AOL went from dying a slow death to robust ascendancy, surging 454 percent in 2006. Putting AOL’s rise into perspective, AA-RF notes that the portal category overall rose 142 percent.
Taking a deeper look into the vertical category, billings in the business and finance area, which made up 4 percent of that category, gained 81 percent in 2006. Community and entertainment each made up 17 percent of billings within vertical