Trend overview

Google and Facebook are the two largest players in the digital advertising market, and are growing faster than the remainder of the market. According to projections by eMarketer, Google will account for 33% of the $223.7bn global digital market in 2017, with Facebook – including its Instagram platform – taking a 16.2% market share. The next largest competitor, China's e-commerce giant Alibaba, will have a 7.8% share of the market.

By 2018, eMarketer estimates that Google and Facebook will have a combined market share of over 50% – a dominance which has seen the two companies described as a 'duopoly'. WPP's GroupM argues that this threshold has already been passed, citing its own figures, which show that Google and Facebook accounted for 57% of global digital ad spend in 2016, and 18% of the total ad market.

Moreover, rather than any prospect of the duopoly diminishing in importance, its supremacy is set to grow. Many experts – from GroupM to Pivotal Research Group – believe that Google and Facebook collectively account for almost all growth in digital advertising. Figures from eMarketer show a similar pattern: that the two companies will account for 58.3% of all digital ad growth between 2016 and 2019 – further extending their advantage over the rest of the industry.