U.K. Web Ad Spend Grew in First Half, But Slower Than U.S.

U.S. first-half online ad expenditures rose 10 percentage points more than those in the U.K., according to new figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and its U.K. counterpart. Online ad spending in the U.S. rose more than 23 percent over the first six months of 2010, while in the U.K. spending rose just 13.5 percent.

While there was disparity in growth rates, both branches of the trade group attributed growth in part to boosts in digital video ad spending. IAB U.K. reported 100 percent growth in web video advertising, and the U.S. body reported digital video spending was up over 42 percent in the first six months of this year.

In the first half of 2010, U.S. and U.K. online ad growth was aligned at around 10 percent according to both IAB bodies.

IAB in the U.S. presented its first-half numbers last week; the estimates were calculated in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers. The IAB U.K. research, out today, is also conducted by PwC.

Retail and financial services firms led online ad spending on both sides of the pond; however, IAB U.K. also cited CPG, entertainment/media, and travel among the biggest categories. In the U.S., telecom, auto, and tech advertisers also had a strong showing.

Display ad expenditures in the U.K. increased 18.5 percent, reaching $789 million (£510 million). “A combination of direct response and an increased number of social media and brand campaigns delivered this growth,” noted IAB U.K. in a post to its website. Still, the U.S. experienced more growth: display spending rose 27 percent in the U.S. this first half. Both IAB arms count digital video, banner ads, rich media, and sponsorships in the display number.

Search spending also had a bigger surge in the U.S. compared to the U.K. Paid search spending was up around 13 percent in the U.K. in the first half, but grew about 27 percent in that period in the U.S., double the 2010 rate of 11.6 percent.

In all, online spending hit $3.5 billion (£2.26 billion) in the U.K. Not only is the U.S. online ad industry more mature in some ways, the two markets are significantly different in size; U.S. first half Internet ad revenues totaled $14.9 billion.

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