Online ad earnings in the US hit their highest ever point in the first quarter (Q1) of 2014, generating a total of $11.6 billion and edging ever closer to the amounts achieved by TV.

New figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as part of the pair’s Internet Ad Revenue Report 2014 show online ads seeing “remarkable gains” in the early stages of this year, with revenue rising 19% year on year.

It is thought US companies are increasingly looking towards online advertising as a way of reaching their audiences, while the proliferation of mobile provides even more reasons for doing so.

“No surprise”

Taking into account internet, online and mobile advertising, the IAB and PwC’s report is considered to be one of the industry’s most accurate assessments of interactive ad revenues.

The $9.6 billion generated in Q1 of last year was itself a record-setting total, yet the bar has been set even higher by the crowds of advertisers looking to do business on the world wide web.

Now, PwC is tipping revenue generated by online placements to rise above that of TV spots.

David Silverman, a partner of PwC US, said that with consumers relying on digital screens for everything from information to entertainment, such findings should come as “no surprise”.

He added: “Interactive clearly offers a unique proposition for marketers and agencies – an opportunity they are embracing and will likely rely on more in the future.”

Path to Growth

Insights from the document show online advertisers benefiting from a “historic” first-quarter high in terms of money earned, while a graph provided by the firms reveals just how far the industry has come in recent years.

In Q1 of 2004, for example, the demand for online ad space was just starting to grow and allowed revenue to hit just over $2 billion. The total rose to $6 billion in Q1 of 2008 and has climbed at double-digit intervals almost every year since.

You can see the industry’s progress for yourself with the official Internet Ad Revenue graph below.