Companies spent more money on online marketing services than ever before in 2010, according to a new report.

Figures released by the Internet Adverting Bureau (IAB) revealed that total spending for the year in the US stood at $26 billion (£15.9 billion), an increase of 15 per cent compared with 2009.

Much of this was spent on search engine marketing, which was responsible for 46 per cent of the total, whereas 24 per cent was spent on display and banner ads and ten per cent on classified and directories.

David Silverman, assurance partner at PwC US, which prepared the report, explained: "More time spent online, especially with increases in digital video and social media, has certainly helped to fuel the continued growth."

President of the IAB Randall Rothenberg also pointed to a shift in consumer behaviour as a reason for the record growth, noting that advertisers have been quick to accept the multimedia opportunities that are available.

Recently, it was stated by founder of Fruition Brad Anderson in an interview with Direct Marketing News that Google remains the primary target for search engine optimisation companies, despite the Bing/Yahoo! partnership's growing popularity.

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