Two decades ago, it was just an idea. Today, it's a fast-growing, multibillion-dollar industry. Online advertising continues to evolve and transform, from the humble beginnings of the website banner ad, to the later advent of pay-per-click models such as Google's AdWords, to more recent innovations in demand-side platforms (DSPs) and mobile and video ads – and their use in location-aware mobile devices, such as smartphones and iPads®.

According to a June 2012 report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), online advertising revenues grew about 15 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011 – after having jumped 24 percent for that period the previous year.1 In the US, online advertising brought in $8.4 billion over the first three months of 2012, the best first quarter the industry has recorded to date.

Mobile, social and video are responsible for most of this growth. Analysts estimate the mobile advertising market to be $5 billion worldwide and predict that advertising revenue on social media channels will reach $10 billion in 2013.

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