The fact that spending on online advertising increased last year when most other forms of media saw declines in investment underlines the fact that the web is "firmly established as an accountable channel" for marketers, according to one analyst.

Karin von Abrams of research firm eMarketer said that the main attraction of internet marketing services is their potential to generate an "excellent return on investment".

"If anything, the recession and the potential for further economic uncertainty make an even stronger case for the online option," she added.

Her comments follow the publication of figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IABE), which showed that spending on search engine marketing jumped by 10.8 per cent during 2009.

The organisation said this was down to companies looking for a better return on investment by using direct response ads instead of brand advertising channels, such as display.

Overall, the IABE said Europe’s paid search market was worth €6.73 billion (£5.47 billion) last year.

To read more from the IABE’s survey, click here.

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