IAB Europe releases full 2020 AdEx Benchmark Report to reveal digital advertising market size

Business, Digital & Media, Marketing, Studies

IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, today released its full 2020 AdEx Benchmark Report following on from the release of the study highlights in May. The report is the definitive guide to advertising expenditure in Europe covering 28 markets. It details the formats and channels that contributed to digital advertising’s annual growth of 6.3 percent in 2020, culminating in a market value of €69bn.

Commenting on the positive market growth in 2020, Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe said

“Despite an inconceivably challenging year, it is really encouraging to see such positive growth in 2020. This is a testament to the people, products and services that help steer and grow the digital advertising industry, even in the most exceptional circumstances. As an industry association that aims to support digital business, we have worked extremely hard throughout 2020 to provide insights into the impact of COVID-19 on investment levels, and to support our members through these challenging times. IAB Europe remains committed to working with our members, both corporates and national IABs, to lead political representation and promote industry collaboration to deliver frameworks, standards and industry programmes that enable business to thrive in the European market. We look forward to seeing how the industry will continue to evolve and develop in 2021.”   

A total of 7 markets experienced double-digit year-on-year growth

Turkey led the way with 34.8% growth vs 2019, followed by other CEE markets. The fastest growing Western European market was Germany, up 10.4%. Measured against the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent economic deterioration, only three markets recorded a decline in investment. Even some of the largest markets like Italy, France, and The UK posted solid performances in 2020.  

Digital’s share of all media advertising increased in all markets under study, often by mid-single percentage points, as other media channels suffered. Digital now commands more than 50% of all media ad spend in 13 out of 28 markets included in this study. 

Growth in 2020 varied by format

Display outperformed the market (+9.1%), followed by Paid-for Search (+7.8%). Classifieds, Directories and Affiliates declined (-9.1%). Display was largely driven by video (+16.3%) and social (+16.5%). Excluding social, programmatic was a key growth driver (+8.3%) as non-programmatic spending declined (-2.7%). 

Social and video posted the strongest growth across all channelsVideo now commands 39.4% of all display spend and exceeds 50% in 4 markets.Over 2/3 of digital video ad spend is generated by 5 markets – The UK, Italy, Germany, France and Russia.

Digital Audio advertising is growing fast

Whilst the audio market remains small, It is nascent in terms of market size with €500m spent across the markets under study, or 1.6% of all display spend. 

Dr. Daniel Knapp, Chief Economist, IAB Europe, who compiled and presented the study commented

“Digital advertising did not have a bad year in 2020, only a bad quarter. We saw rapid recovery already setting in in Q3 before double-digit growth in Q4. A strong reliance on performance channels during the height of lockdown was complemented with a fast redeployment of branding activity, in particular through digital video. The events of 2020 have fast-forwarded long-term socio-economic transformations that are altering how people consume and how companies operate. This provides a fertile ground for digital advertising and we expect the sector to accelerate its growth in 2021. ” 

The full AdEx Benchmark Report can be accessed here. 

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