As is par for the course nowadays, online ad spend was the sole shining light in a gloomy Q1 Bellwether report on the overall ad industry. Without it, main media budgets would have shown a drop in the quarter, but online was included so the overall showed a slight increase. Marketing spend has fallen for a second consecutive quarter, however, suggesting falling economic confidence.
Though 19 percent of companies increased web marketing budgets, that’s down from 27 percent in the previous quarter – it’s slowest growth since 2002. Twelve percent spent less on online; search ad spend rose faster than usual.
Online advertising has profited wildly in recent years, taking much traditional media spend thanks to more accurate reporting and bankable outcomes. Many in the industry believe online will weather the gathering advertising storm for exactly those reasons. Last month, FT.com managing editor Rob Grimshaw told me a downturn is unavoidable in this economy but: