Though Google’s (GOOG) AdSense imprint has been top earner for Internet-based revenue for several years running, it looks like there is a new sheriff in town: Facebook. Projections by Ender’s Analysis show that Facebook will take in a staggering $3.5 billion dollars from display ad revenue in 2011, which puts it miles ahead of Google’s $1.5 billion from display ads.
Of course, Google is still the dominating force when it comes to overall ad revenue, but the fact that it was taken down in even one part of its thus-far iron-clad marketing strategy is definitely interesting. Google has been the market leader for so long that many have criticized it for being a de-facto Monopoly. Though Microsoft or Yahoo! would have been happy to steal away some of Google’s business, it is interesting that it took a socially-focused website to finally begin the process of pecking away at Google’s market dominance.
Though this could be seen as reason for Google shareholders to panic, the pressure to do something a little different could be good for their business model, which many have accused of stagnating without competition. On the flip side however, Yahoo! and Microsoft could capitalize on this weakness and implement features that make them more distinctive. Yahoo! has already started trying to implement social features in its search and content products, and has plans to implement Facebook-based features in 23 new international hubs to try and increase traffic (and ultimately ad revenue).
But no matter what this news spells for Google, it has got to be good news for potential Facebook investors. With rumors of one of the biggest IPOs in history, this news can only bolster investor interest in the site. As Facebook grows beyond it’s social networking roots into a major force in the advertising world, it will be interesting to see how both consumers and investors react to this growing global powerhouse.