Google is expected to command more than 37 percent of the U.S. digital ad market, at about $40 billion this year, continuing its dominance, according to eMarketer. The firm's closest competitor, Facebook, will claim roughly 20 percent of the market.
While the two firms are expected to hold their leading positions, other tech companies are chiseling away. Smaller players such as Amazon and Snap have seen rapid growth in digital advertising, pushing forecasts of Google and Facebook's collective market share slightly downward to 57 percent, compared with 59 percent last year, eMarketer said.
Monica Peart, senior director of forecasting at eMarketer, said Google's growth in advertising is driven by consumer shifts to mobile, which Google has shifted to capture, as well as the success of the advertising and subscription services for YouTube, the video platform that belongs to Google.
YouTube has been the source of troubled growth for Google. The popular video-streaming service has also drawn scrutiny for surfacing questionable and extremist content, as well as for potential violations of child privacy online. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company remains focused on ensuring that YouTube “remains a safe platform with great content,” adding that the service is “aggressively combating content that violates our strict policies.” He said YouTube removed 6 million videos last quarter that were first spotted by its machine-learning tools, adding that more than 75 percent of them were removed before receiving a single view.
Pichai also nodded to the shooting at YouTube's headquarters earlier this month. A woman shot three people there over her inability to make money from her YouTube videos. She had complained about being censored by the video site. “It's been a particularly tough few weeks for the Google family, especially at YouTube,” Pichai said. He thanked employees and said he was grateful for the support Google has received from the community and the industry.
Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet, said the company’s non-advertising businesses have also seen substantial growth, including its cloud storage unit, hardware such as the Google Home speaker and Pixel phone, and Google's mobile app store, Play.
Following Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's highly publicized hearings on Capitol Hill this month, lawmakers from both parties have pledged to introduce new data privacy regulations that would strike at the heart of Google's business. In recent weeks, Facebook has been under the spotlight over its data collection practices and lack of transparency.
Google's first-quarter earnings coincided with the company's lobbying disclosures, filed late last week. For the first three months of this year, Google spent more than any other company, doling out more than $5 million to influence the federal government on issues including the regulation of online ads, child privacy and antitrust law. Last year, for the first time, Google spent more than any corporation on federal lobbying, which was also a first for any Silicon Valley company. Experts say the increased spending reflects a more skeptical mood in Washington, as well as the sprawling business endeavors that have brought Google and its products into so many facets of modern life.