After a year of tracking growth in the European online advertising market, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has concluded that Russia is leading the pack in terms of year-on-year progress.  

Following the release of its AdEx Benchmark 2013 Report, conducted in partnership with IHS Technology, the group named Russia as the fastest growing European market for online ad spend.

The country saw a 26.8% increase in its overall internet marketing spend, with Turkey (24.3%) following closely behind. There was a big surprise in third as Slovakia managed to lift its online total up 17.3% year on year, while Britain – on 16.2% – placed in fourth.

With all of the above contributing to a 11.9% lift in online advertising spend across the continent, equating to a worth of €27.3 billion, the IAB claimed that its findings demonstrated “robust” growth across the European ad market.

Consecutive growth

Year-on-year progression was a theme that ran through the IAB’s findings, but many would have expected as much to be true after reviewing results from the group’s previous studies.

The IAB had recorded seven consecutive years of growth for online ad spend across Europe, and 2013 proved to be no different.

Aside from the top four fastest growing markets for spend in the channel, improvements were also seen across Hungary, Austria, Norway and Serbia, which recorded increases of 16.0%, 15.7%, 14.7% and 13.4% respectively. Italy finished ninth after seeing its spend rise 13.3%, with Romania finishing off the top ten on 13.0%.    

New business is thought to be coming from the demand for highly targeted forms of advertising, while innovation across mobile and video is also encouraging more people to invest in online.

Marketers demand ROI

The figures allowed online to retain its place as the second largest media category in Europe and widen the gap between newspapers in third place.  

This is partly due to the heightened focus on performance-based models which, according to Daniel Knapp – IHS Technology director of advertising research – is allowing online to outperform other media “even in tough economic times”.

Also commenting on the findings, IAB Europe CEO Townsend Feehan claimed to be pretty clear on which online channels would grow in 2014 and beyond.

He said: “The report shows not only continued migration of some traditional media spend to digital, but more importantly the creation of new advertising opportunities within digital via the increasing penetration and sophistication of programmatic trading, mobile and video advertising.

“As brand advertisers realise the potential of the online channel, IAB Europe envisages an increase in programmatic trading of premium digital advertising, including video.”