Its positive findings contrast with the UK's Bellwether Report for the same period, which yesterday predicted marketing spend would increase at a slower rate than expected during 2010.
Today’s Nielsen report noted that the Vancouver Winter Olympics and the run-up to the World Cup aided the uplift in advertising spend.
Yet Nielsen cautioned that year-on-year rises were against weak comparisons and were not actual revenue.
Michele Strazzera, deputy managing director of Nielsen Global AdView, said: "After 18 consecutive tough months for advertising, we’ve finally hit positive territory and turned the corner, but these growth numbers are coming off a very weak base and are mostly based on rate card figures."
Growth in the UK at 8% lagged behind France, which recorded the biggest ad spend growth in Europe at 11%. Spain, however, continued to struggle and posted a decline of 3%.
Advertising spend in the US, the world's largest advertising market, increased 4% on the year. Latin America witnessed the biggest uplift, ballooning 48% over the same period.
Across categories, television attracted the largest share of advertising, up 16% globally on the year.
Nielsen noted that advertisers returned to TV as their main medium, once ad spend was on the way back.
Radio and newspaper ad spends rebounded with 10% and 9% growth respectively. But magazine advertising remained flat on a global basis.
FMCG brands continued to be the largest spenders in the first quarter, ahead of automotive, financial services and durables.