It has recently been reported that online advertising has broken through the £4 billion barrier; meaning it now accounts for over a quarter of advertisement expenditure in the UK. The figures from 2010 show a 12.8% increase in online advertising; a growth rate three times faster than data from 2009 suggests.

The biggest growth area for online advertising was spend through social networks, which grew by almost 200%. Facebook offer a Pay Per Click option based on unique information about their users, as well as Facebook ‘Deals’ and sponsored page posts; all of which have proved to be highly successful ways to promote large brands. The successes through the medium have led many SME’s to start taking advantage of the options too.

Facebook isn’t the only social media platform we can advertise on, of course. Twitter offer sponsored tweets, promoted trends and promoted accounts - all used as ways to gain added exposure through the fast growing micro-blogging website. Other successful channels include YouTube, which is already known for its vast range of viral campaigns, and has recently become an advertising hotspot with promoted videos, banners and mobile to name but a few. Online video advertising nearly doubled in 2010.

This substantial increase can be put down to the continuing snowball effect of the big social networks in 2010. There has also been a sharp increase in Internet enabled mobile devices and the most popular downloads for these devices are social media apps. 37% of UK smartphone users have a social networking app on their phones which they use at least once a week.

Joseph Jaffe, a globally renowned marketing consultant, advocates that businesses should use social media for customer retention and not for acquiring new customers. Jaffe also recommended that 33% of today’s marketing budget should be spent on mobile, as the market is continually growing and developing. Search advertising remains the most profitable channel as many businesses are still looking to invest in PPC campaigns and SEO strategies, even though the growth of the sector was 8% in 2010. This sector still remains dominated by Google, who also dominate the search engine market.

Tom Hicks our Marketing Manager said: "We have been using a variety of online marketing tactics for clients to meet their business strategies. SEO and social are proving to be even more in demand compared to 2009, which is down to their exposure and credibility. However, traditional measures such as eshot marketing and strong CRM strategies are still at the forefront for most brands."

On the flip side, other areas of advertising such as print, radio and outdoor are recovering after being dropped during the recession and television spending is bouncing back from a big decline last year.

Tim Cowland, Managing Director of Radio Experts said: "During 2010 the radio industry was burgeoning and in particular clients who understood using radio as a directional media to drive traffic for online response prospered greatly. With a changing market, including Spotify bringing audio delivery to an online environment, radio’s ability to generate click through is both exciting and ever more important."

It looks unlikely that the traditional mediums will ever be able to match up to online spend again, with signs showing that spend proportion will continue to grow throughout 2011.

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