Spending on internet marketing techniques rose by 20 per cent between January and March compared to the corresponding period of 2009, according to a new report.

The study, compiled by Efficient Frontier and reported by ClickZ, shows that investment in pay per click services was driven by the retail sector, where expenditure rose by an average of 32 per cent during the first quarter compared with 12 months earlier.

Microsoft’s "decision engine" Bing showed strong year-on-year growth, albeit from a small base, with its share of marketing spend and clicks each climbing by 45 per cent.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! saw its share of investment in search marketing decline by 12 per cent.

Google remained the dominant force in the market, attracting 74.8 per cent of online marketing spend and 74 per cent of clicks.

According to comScore, the search engine handled 10.04 billion searches from US internet users during March.

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