IAB Europe’s latest report into online advertising expenditure, the Adex Benchmark 2012, has uncovered overall growth of 11.5%, despite what it is calling the toughest economic climate for the broader advertising marketing since 2009.

Newspaper spend, previously revealed to be €19 billion, has been surpassed by online advertising spend for the first time. It is now the second biggest media category in Europe, behind television, and attracts one in every four advertising Euros.

It is worth noting that this Adex Benchmark does not take into account the affiliate or lead generation channels. The report only incorporates data from advertising formats in classifieds and directories, display and search.

Market Conditions

Much has been made of the economic impact on advertising spend, which has affected the affiliate channel too. The chief executive of IAB Europe, Kimon Zorbas, confirmed that growth had occurred despite the continent’s wider struggles.

“Overall our sector has remained strong,” Zorbas said. “Growth has continued at an impressive rate especially when compared with the overall economy. Even more remarkable is the increase in central and eastern Europe (CEE) markets, which indicates their exciting potential.”

In fact, when comparing GDP with online advertising spend across the whole of Europe, the sector appears to have achieved great things. However it is in CEE where a 27% growth is almost three times that of western Europe.

UK Dominance

The UK was the largest online advertising marketing in Europe during 2012. Its €6.6 billion is over €2 billion larger than Germany in second and France in third. Germany and the UK make up 46% of Europe’s entire online advertising market.

Spain’s troubles are highlighted, with it being the only country in the top 10 to find its ad spend shrunk between 2011 and 2012. Other countries to suffer the same fate include Slovenia, Croatia and Greece.

Interestingly, the UK is not quite the most mature market in Europe according to the report’s ad spend per capita data. Norway and Denmark are ahead in this respect. On the other side of the spectrum it is the CEE countries that are the least mature.