The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) find online advertising spending hit $7.2 billion for the entire year last year, representing a 20% increase in spending over 2002. Article
Online ad spending in Q4 2003 totaled $2.2 billion, rising 38% over Q4 2002. What’s more, last quarter marked the highest spending quarter yet in the industry.

According to eMarketer, search engine marketing (SEM) — which grew 123% in 2003 — is primarily to thank for the 20% in online ad spending growth last year. In its latest report, Search Engine Marketing, eMarketer estimates paid search ad spending totaled $2.07 billion last year, jumping from $927 million in 2002.

“While the 20% gain for overall US online ad spending points to a healthy market, the engine pulling that growth train is paid search, which soared by 123% in 2003,” says eMarketer Senior Analyst David Hallerman. eMarketer estimates paid search advertising represented 30% of online ad spending in 2003.