Search engine advertising accounts for the biggest sector of the online advertising revenue pie, after overtaking traditional internet advertising formats such as banners for the first time and pulling in almost as much money as cinema advertising last year.

An analysis of total online ad spend for 2003, by the Interactive Advertising Bureau UK and PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that marketers spent &£83.4m on search advertising (paid-for listings on sites such as Google). That compares with a figure of &£89.2m for cinema advertising.

IAB UK chief executive Danny Meadows-Klue says that overall, online advertising “retains its place as the fastest-growing marketing channel on record”.