IAB/PwC: Web Ad Spend Grew 37 Percent in First Half ’06

Marketers spent $7.9 billion on interactive advertising during the first half of 2006, a 37 percent increase over the year ago period, according to the latest report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Spending during the second quarter was $4.1 billion, marking a 5.5 percent increase over Q1, which the IAB and PwC reported in May.

Ad spending during the first six months of the year increased across all interactive channels, including search, classifieds, e-mail and display advertising; and growth in each category was roughly in line with the year-ago period. Spending on search was $3.2 billion, or 40 percent of the pie, whereas display ad formats drew expenditures of $2.5 billion (31 percent) and classifieds brought down $1.6 billion (20 percent). The remaining nine percent went to e-mail and referrals/lead generation, which the IAB and PwC began measuring last year.

“Three years ago search was the big driver and display was off, now it’s all the main categories: search, classifieds and display,” Greg Stuart, CEO of the IAB told ClickZ News. “What caught my attention was the continued acceleration, and it generally seems to be across all sectors.”

Earlier this month, TNS pegged growth in online display advertising for the same period at a slightly more modest 18.9 percent, but its overall estimate of spending in that category was higher, measuring $4.7 billion. Nielsen meanwhile measured the most robust increase in digital ad spending, tallying a 49 percent leap to $3.8 billion.

Stuart argued the continued growth in online ad spending means the Web should now be considered one of the juggernauts of media. “It’s far bigger than consumer magazines. It’s on par with the networks, on par with cable, and on par with radio,” he said. “So it’s a big damn number.”

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