According to preliminary data from the US Interactive Advertising Bureau, fourth quarter advertising revenues both grew and shrank – depending on the comparison timeline.

For 2002 as a whole, online advertising revenues totalled $5.95 billion (€5.44bn; £3.79bn) – a seventeen percent decrease on 2001. But the first few green shoots of recovery may have appeared. Q4, although 9.4% down on the same period last year is 2% up on Q3 2002, the first consecutive quarterly increase since revenues hit their nadir in Q2 2000.

According to IAB president/ceo Greg Stuart: “The improved online advertising environment reflects a confluence of factors. The publishers are offering a more manageable, uniform and understandable business proposition than ever before. The creative side has gotten smarter and is delivering compelling, entertaining content, which will only improve as the installed base of high-speed access users increases. This adds up to a fertile environment for the industry to right and propel itself.”

These preliminary results are based on compiling data from the top fifteen online ad sellers, which historically account for over 80% of total industry revenues. The results of this revenue compilation were then extrapolated by the New Media Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers to calculate the total industry revenue figure.

The full data is available from the IAB.

Data sourced from: Interactive Advertising Bureau (USA); additional content by WARC staff