Thanks to Social Media and Mobile, Online Display Advertising Grows in Europe

Video Also Helped Fuel Expansion but Search Remains Biggest Web Ad Category

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The rise of social media, online video and mobile marketing has triggered a surge in the growth of online display advertising in Europe, according to new research by the Internet Advertising Bureau Europe. In recent years, search has grown faster than online display advertising, but in 2010 display expanded by 21.3% in Europe, after growing by just 1% in 2009.

Paul Vassallo, head of digital trading at MPG's Media Contacts, said, "The whole display market has got more professional and more intelligent, thanks to the big players like Apple's iAd and Google, who really know how to sell. They've given the whole industry an extra kick."

The display figure was boosted by online video ad spending, which doubled in most markets in 2010, achieving growth rates of 125% in Spain (where it was worth $17 million) and 90% in the U.K. ($84 million).

Mobile advertising accounted for 2% to 3% of spending in the 12 markets for which 2010 figures were available.

Mr. Vassallo added, "People are learning that display shouldn't just be judged on the last click. We can look at the stages before purchase, and now realize the higher value of display in that process."

Despite the rise of display, search remained the biggest category in 2010, attracting $10.5 billion in marketing dollars across the continent, and accounting for 45% of spending. Display accounted for $7.7 billion (33%) and classified advertising $5 billion (22 %).

The overall European online advertising market accelerated at 15.3% last year, with search advertising up 15.1% and classified at 22 %.

Mr. Vassallo said, "In video, we're up 300% year-on-year, and while social is more difficult to judge, it's certainly a buzzword with clients. People are really getting the value of YouTube and using it as a channel for social media and video, and mobile is growing fast because it was so under-represented before."

Online advertising accounts for 18% of the entire European ad market. The leaders are the U.K., at 29%, and Denmark, at 28%. In some countries the online share of ad revenue is still very small, accounting for only 5% of advertising in Greece and 4% in Romania.

Vincent Letang, a senior analyst at HIS Screen Digest, said, "Back in 2009, video was the only growth engine in an otherwise flat display market. In 2010 by contrast, three pillars -- mobile, video and social -- attracted new advertising investment. And let's not forget that traditional PC-based banner format have retained their appeal thanks to innovations in design and targeting and a rise in mainstream brands using display for branding campaigns."

Growth rates for online advertising across Europe ranged from 37% in Russia and 24% in the Czech Republic to 14% in Denmark and 7% in France.

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