Online ad spend in Europe grew 11.6% year on year in 2014 as a total of €30.7 billion was committed to marketing via channels including display, social, email and search.

Revealed at the IAB’s ninth annual Interact conference, figures from the group’s ‘AdEx Benchmark’ for 2014 confirm a fifth consecutive double-digit rise in spend for the online advertising industry, which is continuing to build on its contribution to the EU economy.

The figures also reveal the biggest channels in terms of spend, as well as the fastest-growing and most-valuable markets around the continent.

Search reigns supreme

Aided by Google’s success in Europe, search stood as the biggest online ad channel in terms of revenue. Spend on search marketing rose 10.8% last year as brands parted with a grand total of €14.7 billion.

Display managed to record a faster rate of growth over the year, rising 15.2%, but an earning of €10.9 billion wasn’t enough to knock search off the top spot. 

Despite all the noise about mobile overtaking desktop spend, smartphone and tablet budgets for display only accounted for 17.7% of the total picture. However, with spend growing 72.5% compared to 2013, marketers are clearly taking more notice of reaching audiences on the move.

Big markets

In terms of the most-valuable ad markets, the UK retained its place at the top of the leaderboard with revenue of €8.9 billion. Germany places second on €5.4 billion, with France completing the top three on €3.7 billion. 

Further down the table, Italy generated €1.9 billion from online advertising last year, with Russia (€1.8 billion), the Netherlands (€1.5 billion) and Sweden (€1.0 billion) also featuring in the top ten. 

Slovenia proved itself to be ‘the’ market to watch in 2015 – its ad spend seeing a 43.1% rise last year – with Ireland (33.3%) and Belarus (32.8%) completing the top three for growth.