Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB), Keep Hold on Internet Ads

Alphabet (ticker: GOOG, GOOGL) investors may not need to worry about the growing list of advertisers that are boycotting YouTube.

According to the latest Q1 internet advertising data from marketing company Merkle, Google and Facebook (FB) are off to strong starts to the year. Advertising trends for Twitter (TWTR) and Snap (SNAP) are less clear.

For Google, search revenue in Q1 has been picking up YouTube’s slack.

“The search strength should give comfort to investors concerned that the brand advertiser backlash at YouTube could lead to steep estimate reductions,” Aegis Capital analyst Victor Anthony writes after hosting an investor call with Merkle.

Merkle reports that search-related ad spending for Google was up 21 percent year-over-year in Q1, a 2 percent increase compared to 19 percent growth in Q4 of 2016.

Google parent Alphabet’s stock dropped more than 4 percent in just over a week earlier in March after a number of YouTube advertisers announced they were leaving the platform. The advertisers were concerned that Google’s programmatic advertising system was displaying ads alongside YouTube content that is inappropriate or potentially harmful to advertiser brands.

In addition to Google’s positive Q1 numbers, Anthony says Instagram remains Facebook’s biggest advertising growth source. Aegis is anticipating more impressive advertising numbers from Facebook in Q1.

Merkle describes the ad spend for Twitter as “inconsistent,” especially compared to Facebook’s solid track record.

For the newest name in the space, Snap, a small number of advertisers are making big commitments to the platform to try to beat competitors to the punch. Anthony says advertisers are still testing the waters and trying to get a feel for the potential benefits of the platform.

In the meantime, Facebook will likely continue to turn up the heat on Snap.

“In the few short days since launch, we are starting to see…

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