Online ads defy downward trend

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Online ads beat the recession

The internet is the only advertising medium to experience growth in the recession, according to a leading media buyer.

ZenithOptimedia, part of the world's largest media services group Publicis Groupe, has published a report suggesting that total online marketing adspend rose 9.5 per cent in 2009. The sharpest rise came in the area of paid search, which enjoyed 15 per cent year-on-year growth. This was followed by display ads with six per cent growth and classified web ads with two per cent.

Tough times for traditional ads

Putting these figures into stark context, ZenithMedia believes that total adspend across all sectors dropped by a full 10.2 per cent. However, it predicts that marketing opportunities will pick up over the next few years. Overall adspend is estimated to grow 0.9 per cent in 2010, followed by 3.9 per cent in 2011 and 4.8 per cent in 2012.

The report ended on a positive note. "It is normal for ad expenditure to exaggerate general economic trends," it said. "When the economy shrinks, ad expenditure shrinks faster and by more. The corollary to this is that when recovery is complete, we can expect the ad market to outperform the economy as a whole."

In related news, online advertisers will be keeping a keen eye on today's pre-budget report from the chancellor. Among other things, Alistair Darling is expected to announce that borrowing will increase over the next few years to stimulate the recovery of the UK economy.