Internet advertising revenues in the US reached $3.1bn in the last quarter, the highest ever recorded and a 34 per cent increase on the same period last year.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) on Monday said the total spent on internet advertising, the fastest-growing part of the advertising market, could exceed $12bn this year, above last year’s record of $9.6bn.

“The third-quarter figures are the most impressive we’ve seen yet. Clearly advertisers are realising the benefits of shifting more of their total advertising budgets to online,” said DavidSilverman, partner at PwC.

The report is compiledfor the IAB by PwC.

The IAB report did not break down which types of online advertising grew the fastest. However, many other studies have shown that search-related advertising has grown the most in recent years. This has been a key factor behind the strong growth in the share price of Google, the internet search powerhouse.

A separate report released on Monday showed that search use had grown sharply in the last year among US internet users. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 60m American adults use search engines on a typical day.

E-mail use is still the top internet activity, the report found, with 52 per cent of users sending and receiving e-mail.

Search use has risen to 41 per cent from 30 per cent between June 2004 and
September 2005, when the most recent survey was taken.

“The use of search engines is edging up on e-mail as a primary internet activity,” the report said.

Although advertising in shifting online, it remains a relatively small part of the total advertising market, which is estimated to be worth more than $70bn in the US.

However, the strong growth in online ads has prompted media companies to re-examine their internet strategies and many have prioritised online expansion.

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