THE WEB CONTINUES TO GROW: While print advertising took a nosedive last year — and continues to do so in the first half — a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers notes Internet advertising was up 10.6 percent in 2008, to $23.4 billion. During the fourth quarter alone, Internet ad revenues totaled $6.1 billion, marking the first time the interactive ad industry has surpassed $6 billion during a single quarter.
Search continues to be the main driver of revenue growth, according to the report, showing an almost 20 percent increase over the prior year, followed by banners and classified advertising. And retail still represents the largest ad spending category, accounting for 22 percent of revenues; however, the category was down from 25 percent in 2007. But while the 2008 Web numbers were good, not everyone is bullish about the outlook for 2009. Following the report, eMarketer on Monday revised its online ad spending outlook for 2009. The agency had previously forecast ad spending would grow by 8.9 percent this year, but has slashed its growth outlook to 4.5 percent, to $24.5 billion. — Amy Wicks