Amazon.com's advertising business is likely to more than double its sales in the U.S. this year, a market researcher said Wednesday, which would place the company behind only Google and Facebook.
Amazon's U.S. digital advertising business is likely to bring in $4.6 billion in 2018, from an estimated $1.8 billion a year ago, eMarketer said.
Amazon doesn't break out sales from advertising, which it reports alongside other lines of business in an "other" category on its financial reports. That segment recorded $2.1 billion in sales during Amazon's most recent quarter, more than double the year-earlier figure.
Amazon has sold ads on its retail websites and on specific product search results for years. But that business began to take off recently with a perception among some ad buyers that Amazon, with its data on what people buy, can help them more precisely determine whether people bought something after seeing advertisements.
"People are switching much of their purchasing to online channels, which Amazon is of course driving and benefiting quite heavily from," said Monica Peart, senior forecasting director of eMarketer. Amazon is also reaping the rewards of an increase in product searches started on the retailer's website, instead of on Google or another search engine, she said.
Google will take in $41 billion in digital ad revenue in the U.S. in 2018, eMarketer estimates, and Facebook $22.8 billion.
Amazon was just ahead of rival Microsoft, which, including its LinkedIn professional social networking arm, will post digital ad revenue of $4.5 billion this year, eMarketer estimated. In fifth place is Oath the Verizon-owned grouping of AOL, Yahoo, and other early web stalwarts which will take in $3.6 billion.
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