Europe's online ad spending nearly doubles

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BRUSSELS -- Online advertising in Europe hit €8 billion ($10.8 billion) last year, according to figures released Monday by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The figures, released as the IAB opened a two-day pan-European congress in Brussels, show that online advertising has almost doubled during the past year, from the €4.6 billion recorded in 2005.

The survey, which covers 13 countries, shows that the U.K. is leading the way in online advertising, accounting for 39% of total spending. Germany is in second place with 22%; France is third with 15%; and the Netherlands accounts for 7%. Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Greece, Slovenia and Croatia account for the remaining 12%.

It also shows that search dominates spending across Europe and accounted for 45% of all spending online last year. Display advertising accounted for 31%, classifieds for 22% and e-mail marketing 1.6%.

In the U.K., online ad spending already has overtaken radio advertising and is set to overtake print this year. European e-commerce is growing at 37% and total European online sales are predicted to reach €76 billion ($97 billion) -- just over half the U.S. total ($186 billion).

"These figures demonstrate without any doubt the significance of the European online advertising industry," IAB Europe president Alain Heureux said.

Alison Fennah, executive director of the European Interactive Advertising Assn., said the changes already are having an impact on business. "Interactive media is radically changing the way in which we market on a local, European and global basis," Fennah said.
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