European online advertising reaches record annual spend of €36.2bn

Posted on: Wednesday 11 May 2016

At the 10th edition of its annual Interact conference, IAB Europe announced that online advertising grew 13.1% to a market value of €36.2bn in 2015 surpassing the €33.3bn European TV market.

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The AdEx Benchmark research – the definitive guide to the state of the European online advertising market – revealed a €30bn net addition to the online ad market in the last 10 years. All markets participating in the study recorded positive growth, a total of twenty markets grew double-digit for the second year running (three markets recording 30%+ growth, a further nine showing 20%+ growth and a further eight 10%+ growth). Mobile and video formats continue to show strong growth.

Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe, commented “These results confirm the lead position for digital advertising in the European media landscape echoing today's digital-first consumer environment. Given the ever-increasing contribution of digital advertising to the economy and its role in the delivery of digital content and services, we must continue to foster European innovation and empower our businesses to compete across the globe.”

The IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark study splits the online ad market into three broad segments: Display, Search and Classifieds and Directories. Growth in these online advertising formats has been underpinned by shifting uses in devices and changing consumption patterns.

Display advertising outperformed other categories with a growth rate of 17.4% and the pace of Display growth further accelerated versus 2014. In 2015, the total value of the Display ad market was €13.9bn.

Search showed growth of 12.6% - and a market value of €16.9 billion. It continues to be the largest online advertising format in terms of revenue, and has increased its growth in 2015 after a slight decrease in 2014.

Daniel Knapp, Director of Advertising Research at IHS Technology and author of the research said, "Over the past ten years, online advertising in Europe has morphed from an afterthought in media buying into an indispensable set of channels for reaching and engaging consumers that now trumps TV in terms of overall marketer spend. Online advertising today stands for a diversified infrastructure that caters to multiple marketing objectives from direct response to branding, as the sustained growth of both paid-for-search and video in our study demonstrates.”

Mobile and video continue to be the key growth drivers of the European online ad market and this becomes increasingly apparent when looking at the more advanced mobile economies (like the UK and Ireland) where nearly 50% of online advertising is now generated on mobile.

Mobile display now accounts for €3.5bn or 25.4% of the display market, with a growth rate of 60.5% compared with 2014.

Online video advertising also showed strong growth, now representing 16.7% of the display market.

Eleni Marouli, a Principal Analyst at IHS Technology and author of the report said "It is a fitting milestone to see online overtake TV as the largest advertising medium on the tenth anniversary of the AdEx Benchmark edition. In a challenging economic environment and flat media market, online advertising has been the shining star, keeping the European advertising market afloat and again in 2015 lifting it out of decline. Mature and emerging markets alike have noted strong growth rates again this year, demonstrating that innovation in formats, data and targeting continues to attract performance and brand budgets online."

The top 10 list of markets is as follows. Top 3 Individual growth markets were:

  • Ireland 29.0% growth

  • Bulgaria 22.3% growth

  • Poland 21.8% growth

  • Top 10 Rankings

  • UK - €11.8bn

  • Germany – €5.8bn

  • France - €4.2bn

  • Italy – €2.1bn

  • Netherlands- €1.6bn

  • Russia - €1.5bn

  • Sweden - €1.3bn

  • Spain – €1.2bn

  • Denmark - €0.8bn

  • Switzerland - €0.8bn

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