Internet advertising 'comes of age'

The Internet Advertising Bureau has declared that online advertising has come of age after publishing figures showing that Internet ad revenues rose 60% last year to top £653m.

The sector saw market share rise to 3.9%, ahead of radio at 3.8%, and according to the IAB, which compiled the figures along with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Advertising Research Center, will see market share rise to 4.3% for the second half of 2005.

The IAB is predicting that by November 2007, online advertising will have a greater share of the market than outdoor advertising, which currently has a 5% share.

Growth has been attributed to the rise in broadband uptake, now accounting for half of all UK Internet users, and growing confidence among marketers for using the medium.

Other factors that contributed to the rise are the removal of technical constraints on the creativity of online advertising; the growth of consumer confidence in the medium; and the rise in Internet sales during Christmas 2004.

Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the IAB, said: "There's a massive cultural shift going on forcing a change in consumer and advertiser behaviour."

He said it was the result of the Internet equivalent of the Triple Crown.

"The triple crown of cheap broadband, cheaper technology and ever more compelling content is driving consumers to the Internet and pulling advertisers online. The audiences are there -- more marketers need to wake up to the brand building and direct sale benefits of the Internet as a maturing medium," Phillipson said.

The data has been compiled from data reported to PwC by the finance departments of online media owners. Thousands of UK Websites take part in the research.

Yesterday, the Advertising Association forecast a 33.2% rise in Internet adspend for 2005, higher than any other medium.

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