Online advertising spend tops $1bn a year

Online advertising spend has broken through the $1bn-a-year barrier, with consumer-related spend now outstripping computer products, according to new data from the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Fourth quarter spending in the US-dominated survey showed online ad spend totalling $335.5m (206m), up 48 per cent on the third quarter. Total ad spend for 1997 stood at $906.5m (555m), according to data compiled by Coopers & Lybrand for the IAB. But the rolling rate of annual ad spend will push it above $1bn.

Peter Petrusky, director of the new media group at Coopers & Lybrand in New York, says that despite the strong surge in computer advertising in the fourth quarter, consumer-related spend outstripped computer products across the year for the first time. Consumer categories accounted for 31 per cent share of spend across 1997 compared with 30 per cent for computers.

Petrusky adds: “Online advertising spend is still small compared with other media, but it’s moving up the charts.”

The online ad market is showing signs of seasonality which mirrors the spending on other mature media, says Petrusky.

Bill Gash, UK sales director at Yahoo!, welcomes the news that consumer-related advertising in the US has now overtaken computer advertising, as a sign that the US online sector had now achieved the status as a “mass market”.

“I would expect the same patterns to emerge in the UK and Europe, in terms of the businesses which are quick to adopt online advertising as part of their marketing activity.”

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