Overall spending on internet advertising across 23 European markets hit €14.8 billion (£12.3 billion) during 2009, according to a new report.

The study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IABE) said this equated to growth of 4.5 per cent.

Search was the strongest performer among online marketing services during the year, it added, recording a 10.8 per cent rise in investment on a like-for-like basis.

Vincent Letang, a senior analyst at Screen Digest, which compiles the figures on behalf of the IABE, said: "Search outperformed display last year as advertisers on achieving return on investment through direct response formats at the expense of brand advertising."

Overall, the "big six" markets – which account for 76 per cent of all spending on online ads across the continent – all experienced growth during 2009.

Investment grew by 4.6 per cent in the UK, 5.2 per cent in Germany, 7.7 per cent in Spain, 6.5 per cent in Italy, 1.7 per cent in France and 1.9 per cent in the Netherlands.

To read more about this survey visit the IABE website.

Earlier this year, figures published by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that expenditure on internet marketing services in Britain topped £3.54 billion in 2009.

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