Internet in chips

1st-quarter ad spending on Web up 272%

SAN FRANCISCO — First-quarter Internet ad spending rose to $351.3 million, setting a pace that would easily give the fledgling industry its first $1 billion calendar year, the Internet Advertising Bureau reports.

Figures were based on data from more than 200 online publishers selling advertising, including Web sites, commercial online services and e-mail providers, which were compiled for IAB by the New Media Group of Coopers & Lybrand.

“The results for the first quarter of this year underscore the fact that the Internet is now considered an integral component of the overall media mix … ,” IAB Chairman Rich LeFurgy said in a statement.

Computers rule

Computers led all advertising categories with 27%, followed closely by consumer-related products at 25%, the IAB said. Other leading categories were telecommunications, 14%; financial services, 13%; and new media, 10%.

First-quarter spending was about 5% higher than the fourth quarter of 1997 and 272% higher than the first quarter last year. According to IAB, total online ad spending last year was $907 million.

The Internet Advertising Bureau, which was holding its annual meeting here, also announced that it would merge with the Internet Local Advertising & Commerce Assn. effective July 1.

ILAC was founded last year to promote and advance local advertising and commerce between buyers and sellers on the Internet. IAB, founded in 1996, has primarily online publishers as members.

Computer chip-maker Intel Corp. was named the first IAB marketer of the year for effectively using “most of the different multitasking tools of the Internet to implement a combination of brand advertising, relationship marketing, and e-commerce,” LeFurgy said.