By any measure, the United Kingdom is one of the most well-developed Internet markets in Europe. According to eMarketer, approximately 50% of the 60 million people in the UK are regular Internet users, and by the end of 2006 nearly 50% of all households will have a broadband Internet connection.

Interestingly, many American brands are among the 20 most popular Web properties in the UK, showing how well US brands have translated well "across the pond."

One area of particular growth within the UK Internet market has been in online marketing spending. According to a recent survey from Atlas Solutions, search advertising is the digital marketing medium most likely to grow over the next 12 months, according to survey respondents, followed by marketing within social communities.

Paid search marketing revenues in the UK will total £1.26 billion (US$2.5 billion) in 2006, according to E-Consultancy. By way of comparison, eMarketer estimates that paid search spending in the US will total $6.8 billion in 2006. But if one divides the number of Internet users by paid search spending in the US vs. the UK (US$6.8 billion and 180 million Internet users vs. US$2.5 billion and 30 million Internet users, respectively) then the UK paid search advertising market is over twice as large per capita than the US.

As in all areas of marketing, effective measurement is fundamentally important. Survey data from Atlas Solutions show that UK advertising agencies cite this (or the lack thereof) as the most serious threat to the growth of digital marketing in the next 12 months, followed by the lack of standards within the sector.