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Digital Ad Spending Surpassed $115 Million in Colombia in 2013

Online and mobile represented 97.85% and 2.15%, respectively, of digital advertising in 2013

According to a March 2014 Interactive Advertising Bureau Colombia (IAB Colombia) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, digital ad spending in Colombia, the fourth-largest economy in Latin America by GDP, came up to COP215.5 billion ($115.2 million) in 2013.

Growth in digital advertising in Colombia was mostly fueled by online ads shown on laptops and desktops only, which totaled COP210.9 billion ($112.8 million) last year. The 33.3% online ad spending improvement over 2012 slightly outpaced the overall digital advertising 32.9% gain.

Mobile ad spending, while also growing, remained subdued by online advertising. According to IAB Colombia/PwC, only 2.15% of the advertising proceeds landed on devices such as smartphones and tablets. That tiny share translates to COP4.6 billion ($2.5 million) spent on mobile ads in 2013, bringing investments up 14.0% from a year earlier. Worryingly, mobile ad spending in Colombia appeared to be moving in the opposite direction than most other markets worldwide, with its share of digital ad spending diminishing from the 2.50% it held in 2012.

Broken down by format, banners still dominated the nascent Colombian market, with COP85.53 billion ($45.7 million) invested in that particular format. Impressively, banners represented three-quarters of mobile ads. The intrusive nature of such ads, especially in the small screens of smartphones, may be one big reason behind mobile advertising’s failure to launch in the country.

While banners are still dominant in the digital advertising landscape in Colombia, the shift to more sophisticated ads was evident in the growth experienced by video (126.9%) and social media (91.1%) in online platforms and by rich media (351.4%) and search (155.1%) in the mobile space.

eMarketer estimates total digital ad spending in Latin America reached $4.11 billion last year. Of that total, $910 million was spent in countries other than Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. We predict the category will reach $5.29 billion in the region as a whole and $1.20 billion outside the top three regional economies in 2014.

Assuming a similar trajectory could be followed by investments in Colombia this year (that is, similar growth to 2013 and share of eMarketer estimates), digital ad spending in the country could reach $155 million in 2014.

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