Big Offline Advertisers Spending More on Web

NEW YORK Companies that have historically spent significant amounts on advertising, such as car manufacturers and telecommunications outfits, are stepping up their commitment to the Internet, according to a report from Nielsen/NetRatings.

Advertisers of business and consumer services, for instance, increased online ad spending by $100 million in the first quarter versus the year-ago period, the study found. That category, which includes financial services and telecommunications marketers, represented 58 percent of the $172 million rise in total online ad spending during the same period.

The auto industry allocated $57 million in Q1 2003 to Web advertising, up $30 million or nearly 91 percent from the same time a year ago. Close behind, the drug and remedies category upped year-over-year online ad spending by $26 million in the first quarter, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, which is a part of Adweek parent VNU.

Meanwhile, the Internet ad budget for the travel, hotels and resorts sector and insurance and real estate industries grew by $15 million and $10 million, respectively. That is a nearly 16 percent increase over last year’s first quarter for the former and a 29 percent boost for the latter.

The study also showed that consumer packaged-goods companies, such as Pepsico, Anheuser-Busch and Altria, are increasing their share of online advertising. For instance, CPG marketers share of total online ads on sports and recreation sites grew from nearly 4 percent in Q4 2002 to almost 6 percent in Q1.