The online ad industry raked in more than ever in a first quarter this year, though the rate of growth has slowed since Q1 2011. The Interactive Advertising Bureau reports that online ad revenue hit $8.4 billion in the first three months of 2012.
The total represents a 15 percent rise in digital ad revenue compared to Q1 2011, when the total reached $7.3 billion. In the first quarter 2011, that $7.3 billion represented a 23 percent increase over Q1 2010. Still, 15 percent is twice the rate of growth when comparing Q1 2010 to Q1 2009 - which the IAB measured at 7.5 percent.
As always, research for the Q1 2012 report was conducted in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to IAB, the report includes mobile ad revenue along with search, display, and other ad formats, as it did in Q1 2011.
Search advertising accounted for 46.5 percent (or $14.8 billion) of the $31 billion spent on digital advertising in 2011. Knowing that, it's likely that paid search is responsible for driving somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.9 billion in advertising in the first quarter of this year.