Revenue from Internet ads is at an all-time high. That’s one of the key findings of a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The bureau's annual Internet Advertising Revenue Report found that revenue from internet ads in the period surveyed -- the first six months of this year -- reached a high of US$ 17 billion, representing a 14 percent increase year-over-year.

Mobile’s Growth

In a statement, IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg said the report “establishes that marketers increasingly embrace mobile and digital video,” as well as the entire range of interactive ad platforms. He added that the half-year results “come on the heels of a study from Harvard Business School researchers” pointing to the ad-based internet ecosystem as being a “critical driver of the U.S. economy.”

Mobile internet’s growth was reflected in the statistics, with a 95 percent increase in this period to US$1.2 billion, compared to US$ 636 million for the comparable period last year. Digital video, used in display advertising, saw an 18 percent increase in revenue as it reached US$1 billion. Display ads themselves totaled nearly US$ 5.6 billion, an increase of only 4 percent -- but still accounting for a third of all ad revenues in the period.

Sherril Mane, Senior Vice President of Research, Analytics and Measurement at IAB, told news media that “solid double-digit growth in a stagnating economy is a significant accomplishment,” and added that evidence points to CPMs maintaining their price and “even increasing, further substantiating the vitality” of the internet ad market.

Search Is Tops

IAB began measuring internet ad revenues back in 1996, when they were just US$ 82 million. In three years -- 2001, 2002 and 2009 -- revenues actually dropped -- by 7 percent, 20 percent and 5 percent respectively. While the first six months of 2012 reached an all-time high total, the rate of increase was actually larger the preceding year, when 2011 revenues jumped 23 percent over 2010.

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The IAB report shows that Search revenue accounted for 48 percent of the HY 2012 total.

Search advertising took the lion’s share of this year’s ad revenue, with 48 percent of the total. Display ads are second at 33 percent, with banner ads representing 21 percent of that number and digital video commercials, rich media and sponsorships dividing the rest. Mobile and classifieds each accounted for 7 percent, with referrals/lead generation (5 percent) and e-mail (less than 1 percent) rounding out the bottom.

Performance-based ads, once considered an internet-specific experiment, are now dominating the revenue total, accounting for 67 percent, while impression-based ads take 31 percent and hybrids account for 2 percent.