Facebook Inc (FB), Google Inc (GOOG) Lead In Online Ad Dollar Share

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) dominate the web in terms of online advertising dollar allocation. However, Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) is catching up, according to Morgan Stanley’s AlphaWise survey.

Facebook Inc (FB), Google Inc (GOOG) Lead In Online Ad Dollar Share

Analyst Scott Devitt and his team conducted their survey of “restaurant and service-related local businesses.” They found there appears to be a broad shift from legacy print to online local advertising. In addition, they also noted that most of those who responded to their survey seem to prefer “cross channel digital promotions” instead of just allocating dollars to one player.

Here’s a look at the full picture of small to medium business online local ad dollar allocation, according to Morgan Stanley’s AlphaWise survey:

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Facebook leads the local market

They reported that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) still holds a dominant position in local advertising, especially among restaurants.

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They estimate that the social network will see paid distribution among its 20 million small to medium business clients grow because of how it has been able to capitalize on its easy and low-cost method of distributing content across a broad network of users. The Morgan Stanley team continues to rate Facebook as Overweight.

Google is the “ultimate resource”

The analysts also found that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) appeared to be “the ultimate resource” when it comes to attracting loyal and new customers. The search giant did especially well among service-related small to medium businesses. They said this debunks the myth that Google has struggled to gain advertising dollars from small businesses.

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They also said Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) could see a nice tailwind for growth in revenue from local advertising which isn’t “currently baked into market expectations.” The analysts continue to rate Google as Overweight.

Yelp nips at their heels

The Morgan Stanley team reports that Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) appears to be catching up to the two top players in the industry, particularly because of its unique assets. They see the site’s customer analytics dashboard and also high-touch service model as being “key differentiators” which could offer Yelp a way to come out ahead of bigger competitors. They also expect to see Yelp find ways to monetize consumer transactions so that it can see a commission on the incremental revenue it is able to generate. They see this as an even bigger potential opportunity.

The analysts continue to rate Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) as Equal-weight.