Google and Facebook together accounted for 20% of the global advertising expenditure across all media in 2016, up from 11% in 2012, according to the new edition of Zenith’s Top Thirty Global Media Owners, published on Monday. The two companies captured 64% of all the growth in global adspend between 2012 and 2016.
The Top Thirty Global Media Owners report is Zenith’s unique ranking of the world’s largest media companies, and has been published since 2007. For this edition, the agency decided to update their methodology and focus purely on media owners’ revenues from advertising, excluding revenues from all other activities, to give a true measure of their status in the global advertising market.
Google (under its holding company Alphabet) is, by some distance, the largest media owner in the world, attracting USD 79.4 bn in ad revenue in 2016, three times more than the second-largest – Facebook – which attracted USD 26.9 bn. The largest traditional media owner is Comcast, which takes third place in the ranking, with USD 12.9 bn in ad revenue.
Zenith had stated in their quarterly Advertising Expenditure Forecasts that internet advertising has overtaken television to become the world’s largest advertising medium this year. Accordingly, digital platforms that are funded by internet advertising dominate their top 30 ranking. As well as Alphabet and Facebook, there are five more pure-internet media owners in the top 30: Baidu, Microsoft, Yahoo, Verizon and Twitter. Between them, the seven digital platforms generated USD 132.8 bn in internet ad revenue in 2016 – that is 73% of all internet adspend, and 24% of global adspend across all media.
Verizon became a media owner in 2015 when it bought AOL, and if all goes to plan, will become a much larger one when it acquires Yahoo later this year. Verizon takes 21st place in the current ranking; adding Yahoo to AOL would boost it to sixth.
The fastest-growing media owner on the list is Twitter, which increased its ad revenues by 734% between 2012 and 2016. Tencent is second, having grown by 697% over this period, and Facebook is third, with 528% growth. Two other media owners have more than doubled in size between 2012 and 2016: Baidu, which grew 190%, and Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which grew 171%.
Most of the media owners on the Zenith ranking – 20 out of 30 – are based in the US. The US dominates for several reasons, they explain: the US has the biggest ad market, US companies have invested the most in extending their reach abroad, and Silicon Valley innovation has powered the growth of internet advertising. China and Germany each have three media owners in the ranking (Baidu, Tencent and CCTV for China, and Bertelsmann, ProSiebenSat.1 and Axel Springer for Germany). Then there are four countries with one media owner each: France (JCDecaux), Brazil (Grupo Globo), Italy (Mediaset) and the UK (ITV).
“The scale of the biggest platforms highlights the importance of building strong partnerships between agencies and media owners,” said Vittorio Bonori, Zenith’s Global Brand President. “Brands need to deal with these platforms to communicate with consumers effectively and efficiently, and agencies need to ensure they do so on the best terms available.”
“Zenith’s new ranking demonstrates just how much the internet advertising platforms are setting the pace for global adspend growth,” said Jonathan Barnard, Head of Forecasting at Zenith. “Google and Facebook alone have accounted for almost two thirds of global adspend growth since 2012,” he added.