SYDNEY: Australia's online ad sector continues to grow, with expenditure for the channel rising by 20% year on year in the third quarter of 2011.

New figures from IAB Australia and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) show that internet adspend rose to A$688m over the three-month period, with search and directories accounting for 53% of this total.

Elsewhere, classifieds took a 23% share, while display ads took the remaining 24%.

Compared with the year before, search and directories was the fastest-growing category, up 30%, while display and classifieds grew by 8% and 15% respectively.

Within sub-categories, online video display advertising was up 43% year on year. This suggests that Australian advertisers are becoming increasingly willing to experiment with rich-media ads as a supplement to text-based spots.

Paul Fisher, CEO of IAB Australia, added: "[The] data reflect the accelerating confidence in interactive advertising by media agencies and advertisers as they continue to shift their budgets into digital media."

The IAB/PwC report also provided adspend breakdowns by product category, showing that three sectors – finance, computers & communications and motor vehicles – accounted for 41% of overall display adspend for the quarter.

This is a slight loss of share from the 44% the categories took in the third quarter of 2010.

Data sourced from IAB Australia; additional content by Warc staff