EU online advertising keeps growing, despite crisis

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Despite the crisis, the European online advertising market grew by 20% in 2008 compared to the previous year, contrary to the situation faced by other media, whose ad-related revenue is dropping, according to figures released today (10 June) by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB).

The European market for Internet advertising was worth €12.9 billion in 2008, narrowing the gap with the US, which remains the biggest market in the world. The American market is worth €16.6 billion, although it only grew by 10.6% in 2008, according to figures provided by IAB.

The online advertising categories which grew most in Europe were search and classified ads. Email and display advertising grew at a lower pace, according to the IAB’s report on advertising expenditure in Europe in 2008, which will be presented today at the Interact Congress in Brussels.

Search ads are those provided by search engines with the results of queries made by users. They are content-related, and thus more likely to match the interests of potential consumers. Classified ads are also partially related to non-advertising content, and are more specifically addressed to possible buyers. 

“In times of recession, advertisers are more focused on proving return on investment for every euro spent and these two formats are the most accountable in online advertising,” said Alain Heureux, president and CEO of IAB Europe.

Email advertising saw lower growth probably due to its potential negative impact on users, who do not always appreciate seeing adverts linked to the content of private emails.

Although the sector overall keeps growing, the growth rate recorded a significant slowdown in many of the 19 European markets which were analysed by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of IAB Europe.

The German market grew by 20% in 2008, compared to 43% in 2007. In the UK, growth slowed to 19% from the previous 40% figure. In Italy, it fell from 37% to 20%, in France from 37% to 18.5% and in Spain from 55% to 26%. In the Netherlands, where online advertising was first introduced, growth dropped to 9% in 2008, compared to 29% in 2007.

In less mature markets the growth rate remained high. In Poland, online advertising expenditure grew by 60% in 2008 on an annual basis, while in Slovenia it grew by 77%.

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