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Advertisers target UK Internet users

UK internet users are the most valuable in Europe to advertisers, attracting even more per capita advertising expenditure than online consumers in the US, home of the web.

Advertisers spent an average €82.46 (£56) marketing to each active UK web user in 2006, according to figures released on Monday by the Internet Advertising Bureau Europe, the trade association, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the professional services group.

The sum is more than twice the €39 spent marketing to each web surfer across the 13 European countries measured by the study. The comparable US figure was about €60 last year.

Internet advertising has grown quickly in the UK, making it the most advanced web ad market worldwide in terms of the share of total advertising budgets allocated to web-based marketing.

The IAB/PwC study estimates that in a total of three European countries, the web’s share of advertising expenditure exceeded 10 per cent in 2006. These were the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark.

It puts the total amount of revenue from search engine marketing, web classifieds, display, directories and email campaigns in all 13 countries at about €8bn last year.

Search, a category which is dominated in Europe’s two biggest web advertising markets – the UK and Germany – by Google, the US search group, accounted for 45 per cent of all the web advertising expenditure measured by the study.

It is not possible to compare the total figure estimated by the study with that of previous IAB research because the researchers involved have changed their methods of collecting data.

Nevertheless, the data provides evidence to suggest the internet advertising maket may have considerable potential for further growth in terms of the absolute amount of money committed to the web by advertisers.

For instance, in the UK the average television viewer attracted about €120 in advertising expenditure during 2006.

This is based on UK estimates of television revenue, weekly television viewing and population size from respectively, the Advertising Association, BARB, the audience measurement body, and the Office of National Statistics.

However, more than 90 per cent of the UK population have access to a television set and will watch it during a typical week. This has historically allowed broadcasters to sell themselves as a route to the mass market.

Only 57 per cent of UK households had internet access by the end of 2006, according to the UK’s Office of National Statistics.

If UK internet access were to become as available as television – and growth in online access has slowed in recent years – then web advertising would be expected to reap more marketing expenditure.

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