IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark Report 2023 Reveals Exceptional Strength & Growth of Digital Advertising in Europe

IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, has today released the AdEx Benchmark Report for 2023, revealing a strong 11.1% growth in the digital advertising market in Europe, reaching an all-time market high of €96.9bn (£81.7bn). Despite a challenging economic and geopolitical environment, digital advertising in Europe has shown resilience. 

Now in its eighteenth year, the AdEx Benchmark Report is the definitive guide to advertising expenditure in Europe, with data collected across 29 national markets to provide a total harmonised figure for Europe. For the first time this year, the report includes additional quarterly data, offering a deeper insight into the complex dynamics that contributed to digital advertising’s growth over the last three years. 

Key Highlights from the latest AdEx Benchmark Report include:

European digital advertising market saw exponential growth in 2023: The digital ad market growth in 2023 has now increased investment in Europe to €96.9bn (£81.7bn), surpassing other international markets, in terms of growth rate. While the US market is 2.5 times larger than Europe, Europe experienced a faster year-on-year growth rate than the US market. 

Most European markets showed robust gains: Digital ad spending remained concentrated in the top European markets with the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy making up 69% of total digital ad spend. Most European markets showed robust gains overall in 2023 with 13 European markets seeing double-digit growth. Of those markets, nine central and eastern European markets grew over the European average with Turkey seeing the highest growth.

Video, CTV, and audio are among the fastest-growing formats: Social ad growth rebounded in 2023, outperforming the display growth. Video advertising also played a crucial role in the growth of total display. Audio however has revealed itself to be one of the fastest-growing formats again this year, experiencing a significant increase. New audio data in this year’s report also showed that podcasts were integral to driving total digital audio spend. CTV also grew in 2023 to outperform non-social video.

Programmatic market growth is maturing: Programmatic still accounts for over half of total display, but market growth in this area is maturing. This shift is partly driven by the increasing allocation of budgets to new and evolving channels such as CTV and retail media, as well as the exploration of alternative solutions in response to privacy concerns and the evolving landscape surrounding third-party cookies.

IAB Europe’s chief economist, Dr Daniel Knapp commented on the report saying “Digital advertising defied all odds in 2023 and grew by 11.1%. This can be attributed to interest rates improving, and the economy stabilising, giving advertisers greater confidence once more. While many remained cautious, we saw an increased recognition for more sustained spending, as brands looked to build presence back up and maintain a share of voice in the market. This period also saw a return of new companies and SMEs entering the market. As businesses have transformed to become increasingly more digital, advertising has evolved from a siloed function to a more integral part of the overall marketing strategy, helping to fuel 2023 growth.”

Looking more closely at the channels and formats that are driving digital advertising growth in Europe, Townsend Feehan, CEO at IAB Europe commented, “The 2023 AdEx Benchmark Report reveals robust growth across several key formats, highlighting key dynamic shifts and expanding opportunities in the digital advertising landscape. Social advertising's impressive growth reflects the increasing engagement and effectiveness of social platforms in reaching diverse audiences, and video advertising's significant growth, especially its rise outside social platforms, underscores its critical role in the display ecosystem. We can also see how emerging channels such as audio advertising and retail media are contributing significantly to the overall rapid growth of our industry, offering brands more opportunities to innovate and connect with audiences in meaningful ways.”

Download the full report on IAB Europe’s website here

IAB Europe

IAB Europe is the European-level association for the digital marketing and advertising ecosystem. Through its membership of media, technology and marketing companies and national IABs, its mission is to lead political representation and promote indus...
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