By Max Clarke

Online advertising in the UK has bucked the recession, showing a strong growth of 12.8% to reach a record high of £4,097 million, according to the bi-annual advertising spend study from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers).

With £16.6 billion spent on advertising during 2010, the proportion of online advertising has risen to 25%, from 23% the previous year.

These findings demonstrate that, despite the recession, online advertising is in rude health. Significantly, marketers are increasingly using online channels to drive their brand building campaigns. Consumer goods and retail advertisers increased their investment in online to become two of the top four big spenders in display, capitalising on the medium’s core strengths of reach and engagement as well as accountability.

“Major brands restored their advertising budgets in 2010 and online was a big winner, breaking through the £4 billion barrier and accounting for a quarter of total UK media spend," said Guy Phillipson, chief executive officer of the IAB.

"The power of online to build brands is clearly reflected in the spectacular growth of display, thanks to the popularity of social media and video formats. And with mobile advertising finally coming of age, marketers are enjoying an incredible array of digital opportunities.”

Mobile advertising has experienced a staggering 116% year-on-year growth, up from 32% in 2009. Advertisers spent £83 million on mobile advertising in 2010, led by the entertainment and media sector, but with encouraging growth from finance, telecoms and consumer goods advertising.