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Traditional Ad Buyers Drive Net Ad Growth

Traditional advertisers like financial services companies, telecommunications firms and auto manufacturers are driving online advertising growth, according to a new study.

The research, published Wednesday by Nielsen//NetRatings, found that business and consumer services companies spent $576.3 million in the first quarter, a 17 percent increase from a year earlier. Automakers spent $57 million, a 90 percent increase from a year earlier, the study found. Nielsen//NetRatings noted significant spending increases in other sectors with heavy traditional advertising, such as pharmaceuticals and travel.

Nielsen//NetRatings compiled the data by matching up the ad impressions in its AdRelevance database with rate card and other pricing information. The researcher said the data was not comprehensive, allowing for discounts and other bundling deals, but a good approximation of spending directions.

Looking at ad impressions, automakers showed sold growth. They accounted for 4.7 percent of all online ads, compared to 4.2 percent a year earlier, the study said. Likewise, consumer package goods manufacturers increased their share of online ads from 4 percent to 5.7 percent.

Nielsen//NetRatings pointed out that given their huge ad budgets, even a small shift in online ad spending by a group like automakers makes a huge difference for Internet advertising, which typically only gets between 2 and 4 percent of marketing budgets.