Social media, video and mobile advertising pushed British online ad spending above 4 billion pounds ($6.4 billion) for the first time in 2010, an increase of 12.8 percent, the Internet Advertising Bureau said.
Consumer goods makers joined finance providers and entertainment companies in the top three categories of Internet advertiser, as social networks like Facebook provide new opportunities for online brand building, the IAB said on Monday.
Display advertising in social media almost tripled, boosting total display ad spending to 945 million pounds, while video advertising grew 91 percent thanks to better broadband speeds, and advertising targeting mobile devices almost doubled.
Video and mobile still accounted for small shares of the overall spend of 4.1 billion pounds, at 54 million and 83 million pounds respectively.
Until recently, advertisers rarely used online advertising to build their brands, preferring television or poster campaigns, while the Internet was considered best suited for paid search such as Google's sponsored results.
Paid search revenues grew 8 percent in Britain last year and accounted for 57 percent of total online spend. Display increased by 28 percent to take 23 percent of online spend, with classified accounting for the rest.
But the rise of social media is helping to change that perception, as users spend more time on single sites like Facebook and less time searching.
Yahoo and AOL, which have trailed far behind Google's paid-search advertising revenues, are making big bets on online display advertising.
The IAB said Britons spent 25 percent of their total time online on social networks.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by David Cowell)