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Interactive Marketers Lean on Search

Mobile and social media small—but getting bigger.

Digital advertising has been the bright spot in many ad spending forecasts, and that trend is slated to continue.

In the “Five-Year Interactive Marketing Forecast Report,” Forrester Research projects a 17% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for US interactive marketing spending over the next five years, to nearly $55 billion in 2014.

US Interactive Marketing Spending, by Format, 2009-2014 (millions)

As it grows, interactive marketing will represent an ever greater portion of US advertising spending. Pegged at 12% of the total in 2009, interactive ads will represent 21% of all ad spending in 2014.

Though both start from a small base, Forrester predicts social media and mobile marketing will grow fast. Social media marketing will experience a 34% CAGR, with mobile not far behind at 27%.

Search marketing makes up more than one-half of all interactive dollars, and will remain the biggest format through 2014. Search is expected to grow by a 15% compound annual rate.

According to eMarketer estimates (which exclude spending on mobile and social media), search advertising also makes up a majority of UK online advertising spending. Search spending will climb slowly this year, at just under 5%, but 2012 will see a return to double-digit growth.

UK Online Advertising Spending Growth, by Format, 2008-2013 (millions of £ and % change)

Solus e-mail advertising—marketing e-mails sent to third-party lists—has the fastest projected growth rates of any format in the UK, again from a small base.

Turning to Europe as a whole, search dominates there, too.

In 2008, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB Europe) reported that search took in the bulk of online advertising revenues.

Online Advertising Revenues in Europe, by Format, 2007 & 2008 (billions of € and % change*)

As in the UK, e-mail spending in Europe represented a smaller portion of the total.

As marketers across the globe face budget cuts and shift from traditional media to more-efficient digital formats, getting the right media mix will be the key to success.

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