Growing mobile internet uptake and use of rich media is helping to boost the online ad market across the Channel in France, according to a new report by eMarketer.

While the report says French firms have been relatively slow to advertise and market online, it estimates that the country’s online ad market will grow more than 34% this year, and total more than $4bn by 2011.

Karin von Abrams, eMarketer senior analyst said:

“It’s true that online advertising campaigns are fairly new to the French, and most French companies still put the bulk of their online efforts into websites and email designed to communicate brand messages.

“But France is rapidly catching up and a number of the country’s big brands are beginning to experiment with blogs and other new techniques, including mobile advertising.”

France is the third-largest online advertising market in Europe, behind the UK and Germany, but eMarketer says confidence is growing.  

In a survey by the European Interactive Advertising Association in November, French companies said they expected their online budgets to rise by 14% and 15% this year and next.

“While those growth rates might appear modest, especially with firms in several other countries anticipating growth of 20% or more,” von Abrams says, “France and the Netherlands were the only countries where companies said they expected the rate of growth to keep rising through 2008.”