Online Ad Spend in US Inched Up in Q4



While it is getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror, 2009 was just a terrible year for advertising whether it was online or offline. It will be one of the “Remember when?” years that will have people who ‘survived’ saying “hmmmm, yea that was rough, man” over their frappamochacappasigmafi-chinos in the future.

Fortunately, there was a little bit of good news according to a report from IDC and article on MarketWatch. Despite the crap year it was, online advertising spending actually showed its first quarterly growth in a year in Q4 with a 4.5% rise. Hallelujah!

Spending on online advertising in the U.S. increased 4.5% to $7.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, marking its first quarterly growth in a year, according to a report published Friday by IDC.

In addition, online advertising increased in 2009 to more than 10% of the overall U.S. advertising market for the first time ever, IDC said.

The $7.4 billion spent on online ads in the fourth quarter marks a new record, according to the report.

So it’s not all doom and gloom for every aspect of advertising and there may even be a small sigh of relief that the Q4 numbers for online had a plus sign attached to it. Does this mean we are back on track to the usual quarter over quarter gains that the online space is accustomed to? No one can predict that but it is probably fair to think that the one number that may grow is the percentage of total ad dollars spent online which would fuel online ad spend growth but still not help overall ad spend numbers. IDC does take a swing at what may happen in 2010 to online ad spend.

IDC estimates that average quarterly growth in 2010 for spending on online advertising should range between 8% and 16%.

One has to believe that for a while to come any growth in online spending is likely to come at the expense of the offline spend rather than additional ad dollars being spent. From an industry standpoint it is a robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario as dollars shift from one place to another? Having said that, are new ad dollars sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to really improve?

When will things really improve in your opinion? As an online marketer does it matter to you whether the offline world ever recovers or is it important to see that side of the coin get healthier as well? Please weigh in on this slow Monday so we can have something to talk about.

  • http://www.stellarpointgroup.com Go2Mach2

    Frank…Thanks for your article…

    I agree we are starting to see an upswing in advertising expenditures. If I had to associate one word with this year it would be “Different”. Companies are absolutely torn between traditional advertising and online Marketing. They are starting to spend – but there are only so many dollars to go around.

    Many companies are also re-evaluating their Branding Strategies – http://www.stellarpointgroup.com/marketing-strategy-ideas.html – While most are not doing anything radical, many are taking a close look at the different statistics regarding offline and online Marketing.

    Confidence is starting to build…Thanks again…

  • http://www.10thdegree.com 10th Degree Ad Agency

    Online advertising spend looks to be industry proportional. Evidently, there are ad budgets in waiting, like the recent uptick in ads for the auto industry.