What's Big is Actually Small

Millions and Millions of reasons Display is poised for accelerated growth.

Here’s a few interesting statistics. Industry research shows that by 2016 Display advertising will have eclipsed paid Search measured by total global advertising spend. That’s huge news, and a lot of money; Display is forecasted to be $69B vs paid Search at $60B in 12 months. What’s more interesting is the market driving these numbers. There are millions and millions of paid Search advertisers generating this $60B, however just a fraction of these advertisers driving the $69B of display. Back when I was VP of Global Accounts at Microsoft, MSN was the largest digital publisher in the world with teams in 42 markets. In total MSN had just over 11,000 total display advertisers, worldwide, and these advertisers are essentially the same as those who do business with the other major digital publishers around the world. Add to this those in the SMB segment currently buying Display, and the many MSN didn’t work with, and I’d generously estimate the total current display customer base at 100,000.

Point here is less than 5% of all digital advertisers use display, and the vast majority of this $69B is coming from a few thousand large global and national accounts. The millions and millions of the remaining digital advertisers are largely search only advertisers, and they are SMBs. So while Display is big business, SMB is a big deal! It is estimated the average SMB spends upwards of 50% of their total marketing budget on digital. They represent 99% of all businesses in the US, 98% of them are local, and in total represent 45% of the total US GDP.

The key to unlocking this massive market is technology. These digital savvy SMB marketers have used search for years and generate over 40% of Google’s total revenue. Paid search, while effective, is crowded with ‘like’ marketers and reaching its limits. Additionally, Users have matured, now spending only about 20% of their time online searching and a full 90% of search clicks are on the organic listings, not paid. Quite simply, the user landscape has changed. Over 50% of digital consumption is on a mobile device and Facebook is now the largest website on the planet. These shifting consumption patterns coupled with the narrowing role of search are driving SMB advertisers towards new channels. Display is the ubiquitous ad product that reaches the vast majority of the SMB customers online, and they are looking for an affordable local display solution.

There is a massive untapped market for efficiently packaged scaled display in the SMB market.