Bellwether: Advertisers Flocked To Web During Downturn

What’s the opposite of “recession”? UK internet ad budgets were up for the second consecutive quarter in Q409, as the web continued to take share of outlay from other media, according to the IPA/BDO Bellwether.

The online increases (10.4 percent for internet, 11.5 percent for search) were the most pronounced since Q108 – showing that, during the recession, advertisers embraced the higher guarantees that the web offers through targeting and metrics.

Similarly, direct marketing took money away from other media, but far less than the internet.

So, internet advertising now looks set to resume the growth it was posting before the economy crashed, albeit at more modest rates.

Overall, Q409 saw companies reduce their marketing budgets for a ninth consecutive quarter. But the 7.2 percent quarterly fall was better than Q3’s 18 percent slump, and was the smallest fall since Q108. “It is highly likely that the UK economy emerged from recession in the final quarter of 2009,” the Bellwether says.

Looking ahead, 2010 marketing budgets have been set higher than 2009 spend, IPA/BDO say of their preliminary data: “Although much more positive than the situation a year earlier, budget growth for the forthcoming financial year was still relatively lacklustre by the historical standards of the Bellwether survey. “