Google forecast to see first drop in US advertising revenue in 2020 as tech platforms take two thirds of market

Google duopoly

Google’s US advertising revenues are expected to fall this year as a result of coronavirus and the economic downturn – but the search giant will retain a 29 per cent stake of the digital market.

Forecasting group Emarketer says the predicted 5.3% drop would be the first it has recorded since it started estimating Google’s ad turnover in 2008.

Facebook, meanwhile, is expected to grow its digital advertising revenues by 4.9% this year, while Amazon – the US digital ad market’s third largest competitor – is forecast to be up 23.5%. Between them, the three tech giants are expected to increase their share of the market from 62.1% to 62.3%.

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Emarketer forecasts that Google’s net US digital ad revenues will total $39.58bn in 2020, down from $41.8bn in 2019. Its share of this market is therefore expected to fall from 31.6% to 29.4%.

Facebook is forecast to pull in revenues of $31.43bn, up from $29.95bn, giving it a market share of 23.4%, up from 22.7%.

And Amazon is expected to bring in an ad turnover of $12.75bn, up from $10.32bn, increasing its share of the market from 7.8% to 9.5%.

In total, Emarketer expects the US digital ad market to grow by 1.7% to $134.66bn.

Nicole Perrin, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said: “Google has been growing its net US ad revenues at a slower rate than the overall digital ad market since 2016, so this year will continue a trend of Google losing digital ad market share in the US.”

She added: “Google’s net US ad revenues will decline this year primarily because of a sharp pullback in travel advertiser spending, which in the past has been heavily concentrated on Google’s search ad products.

“Travel has been the hardest-hit industry during the pandemic, with the most extreme spending declines of any industry. Ecommerce-related ad spending has also been dampened to some extent: Amazon reportedly pulled its ads from Google search earlier this year as it struggled to meet customer demand for its ecommerce services.”

Google and Facebook’s domination of the advertising market, as highlighted by Press Gazette’s Duopoly campaign, is of serious concern to the news business.

Today, we report how US news publishers are calling for assistance from the Department of Justice as they seek to force through a fairer content-sharing deal with Google.

Elsewhere, Australian regulators are currently setting up rules that would force Facebook to pay publishers for news stories.

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