US online ad market up 23 percent in Q1

The Internet continues to grow in importance as a vehicle for marketing

Online ad spending in the U.S. reached a record high in the first quarter, as companies expand their digital marketing budgets in reaction to people's increased Internet usage and engagement.

Marketers spent US$7.3 billion in the quarter, up 23 percent year-on-year and the biggest quarterly total for online ad revenue, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The market's performance can't be attributed solely to an improved economic climate. Companies are also shifting more of their ad dollars to the online medium, the IAB and PwC said on Thursday.

The U.S. online market bounced back into growth territory in 2010, when revenue grew 15 percent to $26 billion, after it had shrunk 3 percent in 2009 to $22.7 billion.

Helping boost online ad sales is the growing amount of time people are spending on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as watching full-length movies and TV shows on sites like Netflix.

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