Last year was not an easy one for Europe, what with the eurozone sovereign debt debacle, austerity winds blowing across the continent and the generally bleak economic picture. But it warms my marketer’s heart to find out that the online advertising sector fared remarkably well against that background, recording growth of 14.5%, as revealed by the most recent AdEx Benchmark report from IAB Europe.
The industry association based its report on data collected across 26 European markets, estimating the value of the online advertising sector last year at EUR20.9bn (£16.7bn). This means that the web accounted for 20% of the amount spent on advertising across all channels. In contrast, adspend growth in the traditional media sector came in at a mere 0.8%, the IAB said.
The improvement was driven primarily by markets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Russia led the pack with an astounding 55.5% rise in online ad spending. None of the major European markets came even close to that and Russia now ranks at number six in terms of digital adspend. Serbia was the runner-up with growth of 46%.
But despite their strong performance, CEE markets still represent a small proportion of Europe’s total advertising expenditure, accounting for 11.8% of it in 2011. A year earlier their combined share stood at 10.1%. The developed countries in Western Europe may be struggling to revive their stagnating economies, but in terms of ad revenues they still lead by a massive margin. The five biggest online advertising markets – the UK, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands – accounted for 67.9% of the continent’s digital ad expenditure in 2011, while in 2010 their share amounted to 69.2%.