Internet advertising is leading a generally positive outlook for the ad industry, growing 12.1 percent globally in Q1 compared to the previous year. Ad spending in general, across all of its variants, increased 3.1 percent during the same time period.

The online ad numbers were even more impressive in some specific territories, with Latin America up by 31.8 percent and the Middle East & Africa up by 35.2 percent. (See the two charts, below.)

This information comes from Nielsen’s quarterly Global AdView Pulse report, which points out that television continues to attract the majority of advertising dollars.

Nielsen also found that TV, newspapers, radio, outdoor and cinema also saw an increase, albeit to a lesser degree than online. Only magazines saw their trend line go in the wrong direction.

The research firm attributes this upswing to an improvement in consumer confidence, with brands wanting to connect now that potential customers are in a better mood.

Despite television’s ad dollar dominance, its growth was just 2.8 percent over 2011 Q1. Radio (7.9 percent), movie theaters (4.1 percent), outdoor advertising (6.4 percent) and even newspapers (3.1) did better in comparative terms. As for magazines, they were down 1.4 percent.

Related links:

Nielsen – media summary

Nielsen – Global Advertising Trends – Q1 2012

Forbes – Internet Ad Spending Bucks Economy To Grow 12% in Q1

The Verge – Nielsen: internet ad spending rose by 12 percent during Q1 2012

ClickZ – Online Ad Spend Up 12% Globally in Q1

Photo by Flickr user 401K, used under Creative Commons license