The state of ad spending for 2014

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The start of the year is always the time when we see surveys and reports summarizing what happened in the previous year. These help us understand where we are now and often identify trends that help us plan ahead. This January saw the publication of Econsultancy's "Online Advertising Survey for 2013." Econsultancy carried out similar, but not identical, surveys in 2009 and 2011, enabling it to examine some trends over a four-year time period.

A commercial research and training organization headquartered in London, Econsultancy advises many top-line international brands on digital marketing and ecommerce. The survey was sponsored by Rubicon Project, a real-time bidding (RTB) ad exchange for online display advertising headquartered in Los Angeles. The survey had more than 1,000 respondents, mainly from the U.S., U.K., and other European countries. The companies from which the respondents came were an equal mix of publishers, advertisers, sales houses, and advertising agencies. A quarter of these companies had turnovers under $1 million, while 20 percent had turnovers exceeding $150 million, with the rest scattered evenly in between.

Advertiser business sectors represented in survey.

In this article, we'll examine some of the key trends that emerged in this latest report -- as well as areas where trends seem to be staying the course from previous years. But first, let's discuss the survey itself in more detail.