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UK Online Ad Spending Projected to Pass $525M

Online advertising spending in the United Kingdom should grow 50 percent in 2003, according to estimates by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The IAB UK and PricewaterhouseCoopers released an audit this week from the first half of the year showing spending in Europe's largest online ad market rising to $266.6 million, up 84 percent from the first half of 2002. Based on spending trends and a busy e-commerce holiday season, the IAB UK expects full-year spending to top $525 million, a better than 50 percent improvement over 2002.

In the third quarter, UK online ad spending was $143.3 million (81.3 million pounds), up 80 percent from the same period a year ago. The trade group attributed the strong growth to better ad tracking technologies, more traditional advertisers turning to the Web and the continued penetration of high-speed Internet to British homes.

The robust online spending comes against a backdrop of dour reports for the UK ad industry as a whole. The Advertising Association pegs total ad spending in the third quarter as growing just 0.2 percent from a year earlier, a drop of 2.6 percent when accounting for inflation.

Online ad spending in Britain, like elsewhere, remains a pittance of overall ad budgets, making up about 2 percent of all UK ad spending, the IAB estimated. Still, the IAB UK was cheered by that progress, which it had expected to reach in fall 2004. In comparison, Forrester Research expects it to take five years for average Internet advertising in Europe to cross the 2 percent threshold.

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