NEW YORK: Online advertising in the US continued to soar in the first half of the year, reaching just short of $10 billion (€7.08bn; £4.9bn), according to latest figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Spend during the second quarter climbed 25.4% over the year-ago period to a record $5.1bn. The IAB projects full year online adspend will end between $20bn and $21bn.

Hypes bureau president/ceo Randall Rothenberg: "More and more marketers have embraced the reality that interactive is the fulcrum on which their brand strategies need to be based and we expect robust growth to continue."

The report, produced with accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, shows search spending during H1 accounted for 41% of the total budget, compared with 40% for the year-ago period. Display advertising increased from $2.4bn (or a 31% share), in the first half of 2006, to $3.2bn, or 32%, this year.

Classifieds grew $100 million to $1.7bn, but accounted for just 17% of online adspend in H1, compared with 20% a year earlier. The report shows lead generation grew from 7% to 8% of all online ad revenue.

The top ten revenue-earning sites accounted for 70% of the total adspend, while the top 50 sites collectively accounted for 91% of all reported revenues.

Consumer advertisers' campaigns accounted for 54%, or $5.4bn, of all revenues for the period, compared with 49%, or $3.9bn, in 2006.

Within the consumer spending category, retail led the way with 47% of all ad revenues reported by the IAB's members, followed by automotive (21%), travel/hospitality (13%) and entertainment (9%).

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Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff