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U.S. Advertisers Spend $31.3B for Online Ads in 2011

 
Search advertising has the largest share of online adverting in the U.S. market, but display ad spending is gaining share. The steep growth in online video ad spending, combined with solid increases for banners, will help display ads eventually exceed search ad spending.

Total online display ad spending -- including online video, banner ads, rich media and sponsorships -- has already brought the category close to the range of investments in search engine marketing.

According to the latest market study by eMarketer, this year U.S advertisers will spend $14.38 billion on search ads and $12.33 billion on online display -- that's up by 19.8 percent and 24.5 percent, respectively, over 2010 spending.

Display will continue to grow at a faster pace than search throughout the forecast period, and is on track to surpass search by 2015.

"The re-balancing of ad budgets across the board, among companies both large and small, national and local, will be pushing more brand-oriented dollars on to the web," said David Hallerman, principal analyst at eMarketer.

The rise of display advertising, in particular online video, follows a rise in usage of digital advertising for branding. Online advertising was considered primarily for direct response, but branding is increasing in importance.

This year, eMarketer projects 39.4 percent of online ad dollars will be devoted to branding by way of banner ads, rich media, sponsorships and video. All other ad formats -- including classifieds, embedded email ads, lead generation and paid search -- are typically classified as direct response.

Spending on branding-oriented online ads will grow more quickly than direct-response spending throughout the forecast period, and by 2015 it's estimated that 44.4 percent of online advertising spending will be devoted to branding.

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