Online ad spend across Europe reached a total of â¬12.9 billion (18 billion) in 2008, representing a 20 percent year-on-year growth rate, according to the IAB Europe. The pan-regional trade body's annual advertising expenditure report includes data from 19 markets throughout Europe, including, for the first time, data from Croatia, Hungary and Romania.
Meanwhile In the U.S., online ad spend reached â¬16.6 billion ($23.4 billion) in 2008 and grew by 10.6 percent, suggesting the European market could overtake it in the next couple of years.
Despite the fact markets such as Slovenia and Poland experienced growth rates upwards of 60 percent in '08, the study found that six of the top ten European markets grew by less than 20 percent. These ten markets currently account for 93 percent of total European spend.
Among the most established European markets, Spain showed relatively strong growth at 26 percent, as did Denmark and Norway with 22 percent growth each. France and the Netherlands experienced the weakest growth at 18.5 and 9 percent, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, search outpaced all other mediums, demonstrating 26 percent growth, and accounting for the lion's share of spend at â¬5.6 billion ($7.8 billion). In comparison, display achieved just 15.1 percent growth, and took â¬3.8 billion ($5.3 billion), while classifieds grew by 17.4 percent and accounted for â¬3.3 billion ($4.6 billion) of spend.
Commenting on the report, IAB President and CEO Alain Heureux said he was unsurprised by the slowed growth given current economic conditions, and that the shift towards performance-based mediums such as search and classifieds underlined the industry's continual need for measurement and accountability.
Heureux also emphasised the importance of working closely with European lawmakers to ensure the continued growth of the industry. "IAB Europe's Public Affairs operation works closely with the European Commission to ensure the interests of our members and the industry as a whole are represented effectively to legislators," he said. "It is only on this solid foundation that the digital advertising industry will continue to evolve and grow -- through the good times and the more challenging ones," he added.
The IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers, who helped compile the report, both predict a period of renewed growth as the current adverse economic conditions begin to alleviate.
The IAB Europe is hosting its first conference, the Interact Congress, in Brussels this week. ClickZ News will be attending tomorrow.
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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.
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