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UK online ad spend grows 21%

Despite economic pressures, online ad spend in the UK grew 21 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2008, according to the latest figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB.)

The research shows advertisers’ confidence in the internet as a robust, accountable medium, as continued growth took the web’s market share to 18.7 per cent, an increase of four points on the last ad spend report.

In a clear vindication of the success and innovation in the UK media sector, total UK internet display advertising spend rose 16.3 per cent year-on-year to £333.8 million, in direct opposition to the US market, where display ad growth was halved in H1 2008.

The research also showed an impressive 36.6 per cent increase in spending on ‘embedded’ formats such as banners, rich media and video, fuelled in no small part by media owners embracing video-on-demand.

Over the past 12 months, the number of consumers aged 15 to 24 claiming to use the internet for ‘watching TV programmes’ has grown by 17 percentage points to 27 per cent.

IAB CEO Guy Phillipson said: "Online is not immune from the economic downturn, but is still experiencing an incredible increase and is propping up the entire advertising market."

Paul Pilkington, director, entertainment and media practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said: "Overall, we believe online will perform better than other media during the downturn, but expect to see differences in performance across the various online segments."

The research was carried out in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the World Advertising Research Centre (WARC).