IAB Europe Releases Full 2018 AdEx Benchmark Report

The full results of IAB Europe's continent-wide ad spend study

IAB Europe

IAB Europe has released its full 2018 AdEx Benchmark Report; the definitive guide to advertising expenditure in Europe, with this study covering 28 markets.

Whilst the topline results from the research study were announced at the IAB Europe Interact event in Warsaw in June, the full 80+ page report allows for a far deeper study into the factors influencing market growth. This includes the impact from the introduction of the GDPR, as well as format trends for display, video, social, mobile, classifieds and directories and search.

The AdEx Benchmark study reveals that Europe is both a common advertising market, fuelled by similar growth drivers, and also highly localised. Programmatic, social, video and other drivers have a similar impact across markets, regardless of their maturity. At the same time, markets differ strongly in terms of size and metrics like ad spend per capita. For example, although Germany boasts a larger population than the UK, its digital advertising market is more than two times smaller than the UK. Patterns are similar in other large European economies, highlighting the continued development potential of digital advertising.

Over a decade of like-for-like data in Europe highlights the resilience of paid-for search, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Double-digit growth for paid-for search continued in 2017 and 2018, despite the maturity of the format. This growth was helped by prices for mobile search picking up to approximate display levels.

Whilst the first half of 2018 showed all the signs of a slowdown, unsurprising when the market was responding to such a significant new regulation, the final figures for 2018 demonstrate how quickly it rebounded, ending with growth across Europe of 13.9% – the fastest growth experienced by the sector since 2011.

Commenting on the results, Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe said “In the year in which GDPR came into law, it is encouraging to see such healthy, double-digit growth across the entire region, driven largely by mobile and video. The digital advertising industry now contributes €55 billion towards European Gross Domestic Product and is adding value to both mature and emerging markets. With digital advertising now accounting for 45% of all paid media advertising across the region, it is important that we focus on delivering privacy-first ad experiences which protect the user and ensure this contribution to national economies is sustained.”

Dr. Daniel Knapp, Chief Economist, IAB Europe continued “Mobile, video and social continue to drive growth across the region, with mobile now closing in on 50% of both display and search, and video accounting for a third of all display. These formats and environments reflect consumer engagement with a range of devices, for entertainment, utility and connection, demonstrating the diverse power of digital advertising to influence consumer decision-making.”

Other insights revealed within the report include:

  • Video has been a major growth driver for the last five years, outperforming the rest of the display market and growing by double-digits in all 28 markets

  • In 2018, video contributed 1/3 of overall digital display revenues in Europe, growing nearly 3x faster than non-video display

  • Out-stream video grew by 44.7% on average, compared to in-stream at 19.7%. Overall, video grew by 30.9%, to €7.6 billion, accounting for 33% of the display market

  • Search remains the largest online advertising category in terms of revenue with a growth of 12.5% and a market value of €25 billion

  • Social is fuelling display growth across Europe, growing 33.7% year-on-year and now accounts for 49% of display

  • Total mobile ad spend grew by 31.4% in 2018, to €22.8 billion, and now accounts for 41% of all digital ad spend across Europe

The full report can be downloaded directly from IAB Europe here

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