Advertising helps to drive economic expansion, employment and competition between firms to the benefit of consumers, a new survey has found.

Nielsen’s global study found that 70 per cent of consumers agree that advertising contributes to the growth of the economy, while 80 per cent believe it helps to generate employment.

Another 68 per cent said services such as search engine marketing and pay per click marketing are a "critical driver" of competition between companies, which leads to improved goods and lower prices.

Nielsen noted that views on the economic benefits of were "broadly consistent" among consumers in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

Jonathan Carson, the company’s president of online and international, said around half of European consumers believe advertising helps them make better choices about goods and services. This rose to 70 per cent of consumers in North America, 75 per cent in Asia-Pacific and 80 per cent in South America.

According to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s Bellwether report, there are signs that spending on online marketing services appears to be over the worst of its slowdown due to the global recession.

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