Interactive and web marketing investments topped $8.4 billion in the first quarter of 2012, marking the strongest opening three months for any year.

The first quarter of 2012 proved to be the best first quarter for web and interactive marketing ever, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The organization, along with PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that the industry generated $8.4 billion in revenue, as more businesses invested in new media marketing campaigns to position themselves to reach the modern, web-savvy consumer.

The $8.4 billion in revenue represents 15 percent growth from the same time period in 2011 when these organizations generated slightly more than $7 billion. Typically, web marketing investments decline in the first quarter after a feverish holiday season. However, a recovering economy in 2012 substantiated more spending from companies looking to attract new prospects.

More business using third-party agencies for marketing are directing their investments to the web to ensure they reach their prospects often.

With web marketing becoming a critical factor for any business hoping to compete in its industry, companies are pursuing diverse channels and methods to maximize their presences on internet.

Brafton recently reported that 87 percent of businesses are planning to invest in some form of content marketing this year. Many of these marketers are looking to create news content and other articles to boost their SEO. Meanwhile, others are adding video content and white papers to engage prospects more aggressively.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.