Approximately €6.4m was spent on internet advertising in Ireland last year, up 11pc on the previous year, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. However, online advertisers were warned that this is only 1pc of total spend in the Irish advertising market last year.
The top sites in the Irish market are still based overseas, with Yahoo! notching up 64 million page impressions per month and MSN scoring 58 million page impressions per month.
In terms of the fourth quarter of 2002, the volume spent on online advertising was €1.6m, up 19pc on the previous year’s quarter.
Sales networks, or specific online ad bureaus, accounted for 36pc of ad buying and placing, whilst the remaining 64pc was done by local websites themselves.
The banner ad still remains the dominant form of advertising in this country, accounting for 40pc of total spend. However, interstitials, or what many consider those pesky pop-up ads, have been clearly waning, accounting for 1pc of total spend.
“There has been an increase on spend on advertising rather than sponsorships,” noted Shenda Loughnane of net advertising firm ICAN.
Retail and consumer accounted for the lion’s share of net advertising spend at 27pc of advertising in the fourth quarter, followed by business at 20pc and lifestyle at 23pc of the market.
“But remember, an annual spend of €6.4m is only 1pc of the overall advertising market last year,” warned Gerard O’Neill of Amarach.
The figures were unveiled at a meeting of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) where the forthcoming Joint National Internet Research (JNIR) method of measuring online advertising and website effectiveness was discussed. It is an effort to develop a realistic system that those putting money into advertising can trust and make informed decisions about where and how to advertise and involves a number of prominent media organisations such as Yahoo!, MSN, the Irish Times, Esat BT, Eircom, RTE and Entertainment Ireland.
It is understood that while much of the first phase of research has been completed, the results of the survey are currently under embargo, whilst a special handbook aimed at providing those in online advertising or those about to engage in it with a guide that gives them a true picture of net usage in Ireland and one that gives them the ability to make informed decisions. “We almost want to make it the Ladybird guide to online advertising, in that there is no hype or jargon, just easy to understand facts and figures about web traffic in Ireland,” explained Darren McGrath of Esat BT.
By John Kennedy