Online marketing ad spends continue to trend up as target audiences spend more time on the Internet. Marketers are responding by shifting their marketing budgets to retain market share.

According to recent findings by the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA), the Internet has more than gained traction, it is the place to attract new customers – both Gen X and the baby boomers.

Not surprisingly, 16 to 24 year-olds access the Internet more frequently than they watch TV and spend 10% more time on it.  But did you know there’s been a double-digit increase in weekly Internet access among the over-55s since 2006? About a third of the current Internet users spend 16 hours or more each week on the web.

How are marketing managers responding?

  • 81% of advertisers claim that their allocated online ad spend has grown in 2008 and predict that it will continue to do so in future years
  • 82% of advertisers who have seen an increase in their online spend admitted it is coming directly from print media (40%), TV (39%) and increasingly direct mail (32%) budgets
  • 73% are increasing their use of online marketing as an advertising medium
  • 40% of advertisers now view the internet as very important in influencing purchase decisions (up from 30% in 2006), in generating sales (46% vs. 31%) and in increasing customer loyalty (23%)

In the EIAA’s survey of the 10 most popular online activities, search scored first among 87% of respondents. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), search marketing garners around 60% of online ad budgets and steady growth is expected for very good reasons – accurate target marketing and qualified leads that produce immediate returns as well as bolster offline marketing campaigns.

The results reveal that online is playing an increasingly important role in overall
advertising strategies with 38% of advertisers now regarding online as essential (just 17% in 2006). Clearly, twice as many marketing pros now get it – do you?