As the overall economy slumped in 2008, interactive agencies reaped the benefits of marketers' shift in spending to more affordable, trackable online media.
Most interactive agencies reported double-digit growth last year, buoyed by increased spending on search marketing, social media, Web site development, online video and other interactive formats.
Total Internet ad revenue for the year was $23.4 billion, up 10.6% from 2007, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The leading online advertising categories were search: (45% of total revenue), display advertising (33%), rich media (7%) and online video (3%).
And while total Internet ad spending slowed in the fourth quarter (up just 2.6% from the year-earlier period), most online agencies reported their best year ever.
Traction, which BtoB named the winner of the interactive category in this year's Top Agencies Special Report (April 6), grew its revenue 30% last year, with much of its growth coming from existing clients such as Adobe Systems, Bank of America and Sun Microsystems, as these marketers increased their online marketing efforts. The agency picked up new clients as well, including being named agency of record for California Bank & Trust and Message Systems.
“We have done a lot of interesting social media work,” said Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction. For example, the agency developed a Facebook campaign for Adobe aimed at the student market and designed to promote Adobe design software. It also expanded its work in user design, microsite development and experiential marketing.