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dataGrowth forecasts for 2009 continue to be revised. Emarketer, following on the heels of the IAB's tentative outlook on 2009, has taken its internet ad spend projection down to 4.5 percent. It predicted an 8.9 percent bump last December.

And like the IAB, eMarketer analysts are hailing the projection as a good achievement in a terrible economy. That's for internet spending. On a global, multimedia level today WPP's GroupM revised U.S. spending this year to fall by 4.3 percent in 2009 to approximately $155 billion (versus the 3 percent drop predicted in December) and drop another 6.8 percent to about $144.5 billion next year.

The eMarketer report used research from the IAB to reach its conclusions.  A return to double digit growth will not occur until 2011 (10.9 percent) with 2012 checking in at 13.5 percent and 2013 at 10.4. WPPs report did not break out individual media.

But the game of semantics, such as what is "good" and what constitutes a "recovery" are not as important for marketers to follow as the underlying conditions. GroupM chief investment officer Rino Scanzoni told Adweek that 2010 was expected to show a more severe decline as a result of marketing budgets being cut due to the current recession. He also said the stimulus package provided by the U.S. government is not expected to have an immediate positive impact on advertising because it does little to drive consumer spending in the face of high unemployment, a weak housing sector and a resurgence of commodity inflation in the short run.

Scanzoni's assessment of a possible recovery differs with recent market outlooks given last by JP Morgan's Imran Khan, and other analysts who see the housing market and financial service industry stabilizing. The stimulus package, said Khan, would contribute to a better 2009 than current projections indicate.

Budget allocations are the key number for marketers to watch. Internet marketing has gained ground in key verticals such as automotive and CPG. Several companies such as Century 21 and Avon have shifted all or large parts of their budgets online. Stimulus packages and macro ad spending aside, conditions for internet marketing success in the second half of this year are still stable if not promising.

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Published 1 April, 2009 by John Gaffney

John Gaffney is US Editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter

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