Q1 Online Ad Spending Drops from Highest Point

During the first quarter of this year, online ad revenues dropped off a bit from their highest level ever. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, spending on online ads hit around $6 billion in Q1 2010.

All in all, U.S. spending hit $5.9 billion, increasing 7.5 percent over first quarter 2009. During first quarter ’09, the IAB pegged Web ad spending at $5.5 billion.

While the IAB touted the Q1 2010 revenues as the highest-ever for a first quarter, they weren’t far off from the first quarter of 2008, when they reached $5.8 billion. At the time the U.S. economy had ground to a halt.

Although Q1 2010 revenues represented an increase over the same quarter last year, they fell from Q4 2009, when they hit just under $6.3 billion. Fourth quarter 2009 represented the highest level of online ad spending ever as tracked by the IAB.

Historically, since 2002, online ad spending has increased between Q4 of one year and Q1 of the following year; however, IAB data shows spending decreased between Q4 and Q1 of each subsequent year in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

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