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United States Internet advertising revenues hit $6.4 billion in the third quarter of 2010, representing the highest quarterly result ever for the online advertising industry and a 17 percent increase from the same period in 2009. The third quarter 2010 revenue estimates were announced Wednesday by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers Media. "Advertisers are shifting more of their brand messaging online, accounting for this welcome surge in a difficult economy," said David Silverman, a partner at PwC. "This trend reflects the accelerating shift in consume behavior towards the Internet and away from traditional media," added Silverman.

Even the Internet -- considered a must-buy for many advertisers in recent years -- isn't immune to the economic downturn. Internet advertising revenues in the United States were pegged at $5.5 billion for the first quarter of 2009, according to figures compiled by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. That figure represents a 5 percent decline over the same period in 2008. "Interactive advertising has taken its rightful place as a fixture on marketing plans across sectors, which means we aren't immune to broader economic trends," said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB. "We're confident that growth will resume as the U.S. economic climate improves," added Rothenberg.

United States Internet advertising revenue continued strong in 2008, topping $23 billion for the year, according to the 2008 Internet Advertising Revenue Report, released Monday by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Full-year revenues totaled a record $23.4 billion, exceeding 2007's performance (itself the former record of $21.2 billion) by $2.2 billion or 10.6 percent. Fourth-quarter online revenues of $6.1 billion mark the first time the interactive advertising industry achieved and surpassed $6 billion in a single quarter. The quarterly figure represents a $154 million, or 2.6 percent increase, from fourth quarter of 2007, which had revenues of $5.9 billion.

This is the fifth consecutive year of record results. Search remains the main driver of revenue growth, according to the report, showing a 19.8 percent increase over 2007. Digital video, however, more than doubled its revenue with an increase to $734 million from $324 million in 2007.

The growth in online advertising in 2008 came despite an overall weakness in advertising spending. Nielsen has reported that United States advertising for the full year 2008 was down 2.6 percent compared to 2007.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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