Global online ad spend on the rise while U.S. sinks

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line_graph_smallADOTAS – Sorry to spoil the recovery party, but according to eMarketer 2009 is going to be the first down year for Internet advertising in the U.S. since 2002.

Wait a second — ZenithOptimedia says global Internet ad spending is the only advertising segment that will grow this year. Uncork the champagne!

On the heels of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s announcement that overall online ad revenue in the U.S. fell 5% in the first six months of 2009, online ad spend is expected to top out at $22.8 billion at the end of this year, a 2.9% slip from last year.

Silver lining? That’s an improvement from a 5% slide. The big drops were in sponsorships, classifieds and e-mail advertising, while banner ads were virtually flat with 2008.

While ad spend is set to slip in nearly every region this year, ZenithOptimedia reports that things aren’t so gloomy on the Internet. The agency expects global online ad spend to increase 9.2% to 54.1 billion. In addition, Zenith sees 11.4% growth in 2010 to $60.2 billion and 13.8% in 2011 to $68.6 billion.

The conflict between the surveys comes with search growth in the U.S. — ZenithOptimedia thinks 20% growth in search will drive the global increase in online ad spend. While eMarketer sees search as one of the few bright spots in 2009, it only anticipates 4% growth.

Is this a case of one side being overly optimistic/pessimistic, or does the truth lie somewhere in between? As an interesting footnote, Zenith’s numbers have actually been revised downward since July.

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