LONDON: The European Interactive Advertising Association has found something to smile about amid the current economic turmoil. Namely that 81% of web advertisers report an increase in allocated online adspend in 2008.

They also predict it will continue to rise over the next couple of years: 16% in 2009 and 17% in 2010.

According to the survey, 82% of advertisers who have boosted web spend say they have done so at the expense of other media, such as television, print and direct marketing.

Nearly three quarters of the advertisers polled claim they are increasing their use of online as an ad medium, while 31% of advertisers report that their use of TV is decreasing; 40% cite a decrease in the use of newspapers.

The results, asserts the EIAA, reveal that online is playing an increasingly important role in overall ad strategies, with 38% of advertisers now regarding online as essential (versus 17% in 2006).

More than three quarters (77%) of those questioned found web ads to have a positive impact on the perception of their brand as well as overall brand awareness (68%).

It also appears that results are translating directly into increased spend with more than half (55%) planning to up their brand advertising budget over the next couple of years.

In addition, 40% of advertisers now view the internet as 'very important' in influencing purchase decisions (up from 30% in 2006), in generating sales (46% vs 31%) and in increasing customer loyalty (23%).

As regards online advertising formats, according to 80% of respondents, their search spend is predicted to increase in the next two years while 59% will be investing more money into display.

Comments EIAA executive director Alison Fennah: "This research shows that while other forms of media are suffering from slowing spend, online continues to take a growing proportion of advertising budgets as brands increasingly recognise its impact, value and potential ROI."

Data sourced from EIAA; additional content by WARC staff