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Web 2.0 cash wad surge spunked on telly ads in UK

Ad revenues grew in 2011 thanks to Google and chums

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TV advert spending went up in the UK last year, fuelled partly by telly slots bought by web firms that mostly make their money from online advertising.

Goggle-box ad revenue in the country grew by 2.2 per cent to a new record high of £4.36bn. It outperformed the total UK ad market, which only rose by 1.5 per cent, according to research from bean counters at Thinkbox and Nielsen.

The wee bump was helped along by new advertisers, including websites such as Google and Groupon, as well as returning firms that hadn't booked an ad for at least five years. These 887 advertisers boosted the revenue haul by 2.6 per cent.

Google used to refuse to place its own adverts, claiming that its awesome Chocolate Factory rep would maintain its web behemoth status until the end of time. But it's changed its tune in the last few years and started ramping up its marketing spend in all areas, including most recently slots on the telly for its web browser Chrome and Ice Cream Sandwich flagship mobe the Galaxy Nexus.

Mountain View spunked $4.59bn on sales and marketing expenses worldwide last year, including $1.5bn on "advertising and promotional expenses". That ad figure is nearly double the amount spent in 2010 when the Chocolate Factory blew $772m on ads and promotions.

Another of the UK's new advertisers last year, Groupon, pours billions into its marketing - so much so that it usually can't turn a profit.

It will be no surprise to anyone that comparison sites like Confused.com, Compare the Market and Go Compare also upped their contribution to the spend by 21.5 per cent.

Go Compare, with its singing eejit superstar operatic mascot, spent £19.9m on TV ads in 2011; Confused.com parted with £13.7m for its exceedingly long cartoon ads; and Compare the Market dropped £11.2m to help the meerkats of Meerkovo.

It's up for debate as to whether or not these telly ads are worth the investment, but they can get more eyeballs on pages and tempt bargain-hunting folks who are trying to save every last penny in the tough economic climate.

And viewing figures are looking very healthy as people stay home and tune in, rather than going out and spending. The stats matched the record high set in 2010, with the average viewer plonked in front of the box for 4 hours and 2 minutes of linear TV a day, a whopping 28 hours and 14 minutes a week. ®

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