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Report: Investments in online advertising at all-time high

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Internet Advertising Revenue Report for Q1 2012 shows total online advertising revenue at a record $8.4 billion, says Sherrill Mane, SVP of research, analytics and measurement at IAB. The number represents a $1.1 billion, 15% increase from 2011’s first quarter figure of $7.3 billion.

Noting that this is only IAB’s Q1 report of the year – with Q2 and year end reports expected to detail specifics of how monies are being moved – Mane says that the key takeaway of the survey is the astronomical number itself.

“If you look at what consumers are doing with digital media, you’ll see that usage is not only growing but taking on new forms of activity,” Mane says, pointing out that traditional phone calls involved two people exchanging verbal information, current phone use often comprises multiple parties over digital channels. Mobile ad spend in particular has seen tremendous growth over the last year. “Digital content and mobile devices are in an evolutionary and potentially revolutionary stage,” she adds.

Despite this promise, digital media has yet to land on solid, trusted ground. Mane says that “there are not enough major brand dollars in digital yet” and that “it’s still hard to execute a buy in digital.”   

Mane declines to predict the future of the growth of digital media, offering the Q1 report as a both “a basic accounting of dollars” and a “snapshot with some level of understanding and expertise into how digital works.” 

Global professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) conducted the survey independently, Mane says calling the tactic of hiring an independent firm a necessary one in order to ensure that the report is “confidential and credible.” 

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