Internet Ad Spend Grows in 2007 as U.S. Lags Overall

Marketers continued to aggressively move their advertising dollars online in 2007, according to preliminary numbers released Monday by The Nielsen Company.

Among all media categories, Internet spending showed by far the largest increase: a jump of 18.9 percent over the previous year.

Overall spending for the year grew just 0.6 percent. The softening economy may have played a role, as the U.S. lagged other countries in overall spending. Asia-Pacific reported a 12.1 percent increase, while the EMEA went up nearly 5 percent.

Other U.S. categories that showed an increase in 2007 were national magazines (7.6 percent), national Sunday supplements (4.9 percent) and outdoor (7.2 percent), which continued its five year climb. Newspapers continued their steady decline in the U.S., despite increasing in all other countries measured by Nielsen.

“Clearly advertisers are looking at alternative ways to reach their target audiences,” said Jeff King, senior vice president and managing director at Nielsen Monitor Plus. “As a result, new media outlets like the Internet are seeing significant growth at the expense of hard-copy newspapers.”

King added that there is likely incremental newspaper ad revenue within the Internet numbers representing online access to print publications.

The findings come in the wake of a dismal newspaper industry ad revenue estimate for full-year 2007. According to the report, combined print and online revenues declined nearly 8 percent in 2007 compared to 2006.

Last month, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated that digital advertising expenditures passed $21 billion in 2007. Similarly, TNS last week declared that interactive advertising increased nearly 16 percent in 2007, while spending across all media went up a mere 0.2 percent.

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