LONDON: Facebook, the social network, now delivers almost a third of online display ads in the UK, according to new figures.

Research firm comScore estimated in a report that netizens in the country were exposed to 221.1bn display impressions during the third quarter of 2010, a 34% uptick year-on-year.

This included static and rich media executions, but excluded video formats, house ads and small items under 2,500 pixels in size.

Facebook generated 68.7bn of the overall total, beating the aggregated 13.7bn from Microsoft's stable, eBay's 8.8bn and the corresponding 8.2bn registered by Google's portfolio.

Yahoo's collected output reached 7.7bn, more than doubling the numbers of Glam Media, the Trader Media Group, AOL, Bebo and Amazon, which completed the top ten.

Virgin Group headed the advertiser rankings on 4.4bn impressions, primarily for its media brands, covering broadband, mobile and TV services.

Telefónica, the parent of mobile operator O2, claimed second position on 2.9bn, ahead of broadcasting and communications giant BSkyB on 2.6bn.

BT, another leading telecoms provider, was responsible for 2.3bn exposures, with eBay securing 1.2bn, Microsoft producing 1bn and Google supplying 814m.

Mike Read, svp and managing director, comScore Europe, suggested many brand owners are beginning to enhance their web presence measured against the depths of the economic downturn.

"Following the ad recession that occurred from late 2008 through most of 2009, we are now seeing a strong resurgence in the online display ad market," he said.

Looking forward, Read predicted a further expansion was probable across the remainder of 2010, reflecting a shift among companies and their customers.

"A key driver of this growth is the retail sector, which increased over 300% in terms of impressions delivered since last year," he continued.

"In the run up to Christmas with consumers searching for gifts, the growth in online advertising is likely to continue its ascent."

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff