The use of display ads for branding purposes has seen a recent rise in popularity. The advertisements are becoming personalized - targeting users the way search engine ads display relevant , individualized information based on users' search histories.
According to Search Engine Watch, Facebook is a dominant player in the display ad game, and currently receives more ad impressions than Google and Yahoo.
A recent report from local media space advisor BIA/Kelsey predicted that by 2015, social media ad spending will reach $8.3 billion, with $7.7 billion coming from display advertising on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
BIA/Kelsey analyst Jed William points out that as buyer awareness grows and creative formatting and targeting improve to optimize performance, Facebook should remain the leader in impressions and display ad revenue.
In an attempt to boost its own revenue from display advertising, Google recently acquired AdMeld, a New York-based company that provides an advertising platform for publishers.
While Google makes the majority of its money from ads related to internet search and local search, the most recent procurement may be a sign that it is attempting to expand its advertising reach.