Search pushes total UK online ad spend up 4.6%

UK online ad spend grew by 4.6% in 2009, despite a 5% fall in display spend, according to figures from IAB Europe.

The figures, compiled by Screen Digest, revealed that European online ad spend grew by 4.5% to €14.7bn (£12.3bn) in total but represented a significant slowdown from the 20% growth the previous year.

Overall, display spend in Europe stayed almost flat with a 0.3% increase, while search spend grew by 10.8% in 2009.

Vincent Létang, senior analyst at Screen Digest, said, “Search outperformed display last year as advertisers focused on achieving return on investment through direct response formats at the expense of brand advertising. In addition, some advertisers felt online brand advertising wasn’t yet delivering the enhanced measurement standards they needed to justify further investment in digital campaigns, particularly given the recession.”

According to IAB Europe, the UK represents a 30% market share of online ad spend in Europe, followed by the Nordics (20-25%) and both France and Germany at just over 18% of the market.

Alain Heureux, president and CEO of IAB Europe, said, “The online ad market is at a crossroads: we have a booming search market supporting traffic and sales and lead generation, and online display is ripe for further growth due in part to the success of video and social media. New techniques and business models provide the perfect platform for the next phase of online display growth.”

According to IAB UK and PricewaterhouseCoopers, online ad spend hit £3.5bn in the UK in 2009, a growth of 4.2%.

This story first appeared on

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