The consultancy pegs total online advertising for 2011 at $31.3 billion, up 20 percent versus 2010, and exceeding eMarketer’s forecast from December of $28.5 billion.
The research firm cited a stronger-than-expected performance from display advertising, saying that sector will surge past search in the next five years.
The company added that U.S. advertisers will spend $14.38 billion on search ads in 2011 and $12.33 billion on online display, up 19.8 percent and 24.5 percent, respectively, compared with the previous year.
And eMarketer sees Internet ads accounting for nearly 20 percent of all major U.S. media ad dollars in 2011, up from 17 percent in 2010, with that figure growing to nearly 28 percent by 2015.
As for Facebook, eMarketer Marketing Communications Director Clark Fredricksen said high usage of the social network has helped to drive inventory up and prices down for display ads, aiding in the uptick in that sector. He added that Facebook has helped brand marketers state their cases for creating or expanding online ad budgets.
And in terms of the overall online advertising sector, eMarketer Principal Analyst David Hallerman said:
The Internet has become as fundamental as television to advertisers. As consumers continue to increase their time spent online, and as the resurgent economy continues to bolster ad budgets, we’re going to continue to see an influx of dollars toward the Internet. More ad formats, such as video, and more channels, especially social media and mobile, are also key contributors to the spending gains.
Readers, what do you make of the latest data from eMarketer?