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Digital Ad Spending in Spain Passed $1.1 Billion in 2013

Investments in mobile ads rose nearly 48% last year—and may see similar gains in 2014

Severe economic problems continue to take their toll on Spain’s digital advertising sector. In fact, 2013 spending on internet display ads still languished well below the levels seen in 2011, according to a March 2014 report from Spain’s Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Spain) and Grupo Consultores.

That said, IAB Spain predicted that digital ad spending would rise between a modest 1% and 3% this year as interactive ads continue to prove their value to hard-pressed marketers.

Overall, digital advertising totaled €878.4 million ($1.17 billion) in 2013. Ads served to desktop PCs and laptops accounted for the overwhelming majority—94.8%—of that, with investments in search and display falling around 60% and 40%, respectively.

Automated or programmatic ad buys—carried out via real-time bidding or ad exchanges, for example—contributed 15.7% of online display spending, while the remaining 84.3% was negotiated in more traditional ways.

Mobile provided the most outstanding results of the year. Thanks to the national recession, advertising on mobile phones and tablets hasn’t taken off as rapidly in Spain as in other leading regional markets, such as the UK. Spending on mobile ads amounted to just 4.5% of all digital expenditure in 2013, or €39.9 million ($53.2 million). But the mobile market is definitely moving now. Last year’s spending represented a year-over-year rise of 47.4%—and IAB Spain expects a further gain of about 40% in 2014.

The emerging category of digital signage registered 0.7% of digital ad spending last year, and IAB Spain has forecast major growth there, too.

The estimates for 2013 digital ad spending from IAB Spain align closely with eMarketer’s calculation of $1.15 billion. However, our projections for expenditures on digital ads in 2014 are somewhat more optimistic. We expect some signs of economic recovery to help buoy the market and fuel the continuing shift from traditional platforms like TV and magazines to digital channels.

With that in mind, eMarketer estimates digital ad spending will total $1.24 billion in 2014—a rise of 8.0% compared with last year.

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