The Nielsen Company has published new research which shows that online display advertising activity was up by 21 per cent in the first four months of 2009 compared to the same period last year.

It found that activity is also up 47 per cent on the levels seen three years ago, with retailers and financial services firms accounting for one-quarter of all those launching internet marketing campaigns.

Almost 11,000 ads were being run by more than 5,900 advertisers each month between January and April this year, Nielsen discovered.

"Whilst other media have suffered in the amount of advertising they attract, online continues to thrive," said online communications director Alex Burmaster.

Indeed, according to Patricio Robles, a tech reporter at Econsultancy, a recent study by Borrell Associates shows that spending on direct mail is likely to fall by 39 per cent over the next five years.

Among the most active online advertisers identified in the Nielsen research were Marks & Spencer, with 1,353 display ads, HSBC, with 1,071 and Hilton, with 862.

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