Europe's online ad market grows at 14.5% to reach €20.9 bn

MUMBAI: Amid a turbulent economic debt crisis, Europe’s online advertising market recorded 14.5 per cent year-on-year to top growth to a market value of €20.9 billion in 2011, according to the AdEx Benchmark.

In contrast, the overall European ad market (sans online ads) grew at 0.8 per cent for the same time period. The report was recently.

According to the study, released at IAB Europe’s Interact conference in Barcelona, one in five advertising Euros in Europe is spent on online advertising.

Russia leads the pack with a growth of 55.5 per cent, followed by Serbia at 46 per cent. Norway and Romania formed the bottom rungs at 5.5 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively.

Russia becomes the sixth biggest market with a value of € 1.12 billion. Together the top five markets (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Netherlands) account for almost 67.9 per cent of the total online advertising market, showing a marginal reduction from 69.2 per cent in 2010.

The market share of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) markets grew from 10.1 per cent in 2010 to 11.8 per cent last year.

Head of Advertising Research at IHS Screen Digest and author of the research Daniel Knapp explained, “Advertising markets are in general very susceptible to changes in the macroeconomic environment – in other words, in an economy where we have the European sovereign debt crisis, high unemployment and cutbacks in consumer spending, we would expect advertising spend to suffer disproportionately as it did on most media in 2011. However, online enjoys a number of unique attributes that have protected it from this effect.”

According to Knapp, this phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that advertisers are beginning to recognise online as a branding medium. Also, video commands a significant and growing share of spend and search continues to deliver sound and measurable results. The explosion of ‘big data’ has delivered enhanced targeting capabilities, improving monetisation of publishers’ inventory.

Thirdly, there is a long term trend for advertisers to shift ad budgets from mature to emerging markets, which is fueling their online economy. An expanding broadband infrastructure adds to the attractiveness of those markets.

The ROI-centric search format enjoyed the highest growth rate of 17.9 per cent in 2011 followed by display ad spends which were helped by newer formats including video and mobile at 15.3 per cent.

Also, according to the study, video now accounts for 8.2 per cent of online display. The confidence in the medium is increasing, thanks to its ability to convey brand messages in a narrative makes. The medium is most popular in Sweden at 9.8 per cent but it is also gaining traction in CEE markets as 5.8 per cent. In Germany and the UK, video market is worth € 126 million and € 117 million.

Mobile advertising registered an average growth rate of 45.6 per cent contributing one to three per cent of online display ad spend. On the other hand, paid-search continued to grow in double-digit at 17.9 per cent in 2011, retaining its position as the biggest format in online advertising.

The CEE region that really drove the growth of search, with Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Slovenia all experiencing significant increases in spends. The surge in figures is attributed to the innovation in search – from video to location-based services, data-driven planning to cross-media campaigns with TV in particular.

Another reason for the success of display advertising is the evolution of big data which relies on the rich metrics received through the online medium to plan display advertising. Using ad exchanges, real-time bidding and algorithmic trading, advertisers can reach both broad and niche audiences that meet their exacting criteria. These data-driven techniques increase the cost-efficiency of online advertising, maximising cheaper, remnant inventory to reach consumers.

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