Online advertising spending to overtake spending on newspaper ads for first time

Online advertising spending is expected to overtake spending on newspaper ads this year, a landmark first time occurrence.

According to digital research firm eMarketer, online ad spending will grow 14 percent in 2010 to 26 billion dollars, while spending on print newspaper ads will drop 8 percent to 23 billion dollars. The figures are U.S., but eMarketer believes this is “tipping point that could transcend national barriers.” And they’re probably right.

“Marketers are devoting bigger shares of their budgets to digital media as they see more customers shifting time toward the Web,” eMarketer chief executive Geoff Ramsey said in a blog post. “It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point.”

EMarketer said total ad spending will grow in 2011, while newspaper ad spending will continue to decline.

“The bad economy has actually accelerated the shift to digital advertising,” Ramsey added. “Online ads—especially search ads—are increasingly seen by many marketers as a more reliable bet than print ads, which are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result.”