November 15, 2004 12:02 PM PST
Online-ad industry grows up
Major online publishers and industry organizations said Monday that they've approved standards for counting online-advertising impressions, clearing a major hurdle to mainstream adoption of the medium after almost 10 years.
The move should go a long way to promote ongoing growth in ad sales by simplifying the buying and selling process, according the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group that championed the standards.
On Monday, the IAB reported the industry's eighth consecutive quarter of ad sales growth. Web-ad sales totaled about $2.43 billion in the third quarter, a 35.3 percent lift from the comparable period of 2003 and a 2.4 percent rise over the second quarter. Search-related advertising boosted the industry's upward trend, bolstering revenues of companies such as Google and Yahoo.
After years of doldrums, the Web-ad industry has finally returned to consistent growth. Online-ad revenue for the first nine months of the year was an estimated $7 billion, compared with $7.3 billion reported for all of 2003, according to IAB's half-year survey, which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. If the trend continues, 2004 could end up surpassing the previous record high of $8 billion in revenue reported in 2000.
"Single-digit, sequential growth demonstrates the industry has left behind the large revenue spikes that characterized the early years," Tom Hyland, head of the new media group at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in a statement. "We're now looking at a maturing, stable industry that inspires further investment by large, traditional marketers."