Ad Market Flatlines In Q1; Online Display Ads Up 8.5%

Total U.S. ad expenditures grew a mere 0.6% in the first quarter, as a drop in March erased a hopeful start to the year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The ad measurement firm said online display advertising grew a mere 8.5% in the quarter over 2007, down from 16.7% a year ago.

Most projections for online ad spending in 2008 have the overall market (search + display, lead gen, etc.) growing a little over 20% from 2007. A recent Lehman forecast has online display advertising growing 25% in 2008. But judging from TNS’s Q1 tally, this could be a hard bar to reach if things don’t turn around in Q2 and Q3.

How did other media fare? A lot worse: TNS says TV grew 1.7% in the quarter, newspapers and radio were down 5.2% and 4.5% respectively, and outdoor advertising grew 2.5%.

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