Facebook, which has been racking up search queries to double digit gains, is also reaping more display ad impressions than Yahoo or Microsoft.
comScore released stats May 13 showing the social network led all online publishers in the United States with 176 billion display ad impressions for the first quarter of 2010, good for a 16.2 percent market share.
Yahoo, for years the reigning leader of display ads, came in second with 132 billion impressions, or 12.1 percent of the market. Microsoft is No. 3 with 60 billion impressions, or a 5.5 percent share.
Facebook's display ad leadership comes with a caveat: comScore does not include ads served by Yahoo and Microsoft on their network partners.
To what may we attribute Facebook's rise to power in display ads?
The social network sports more than 400 million users, many of whom spend a half hour or more per day in the network, uploading links, photos and videos, chatting with friends and playing Farmville or other games. More time spent on Facebook's Web pages means more exposure to display ads.
Jefferies and Co. analyst Youssef Squali said the growth was also partly driven by newly designed site from Facebook that allows the company to insert more ads per page, and partly by moving all ad inventory in-house instead of outsourcing it to Microsoft.
Of course, advertisers aren't spending as much advertising on Facebook as they are on Yahoo or Microsoft because CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) are much lower compared to CPMs on those big players, according to Squali. Still, that could change as the allure and value of social advertising grows.