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Finnish advertisers’ investment in digital media bucked a difficult market in 2013, growing 6.8%, to €237.6 million ($316.8 million). As a result, digital ads rose to 19.7% of total media spending, according to Finland’s Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Finland), which based its figures on data from the Finnish Advertising Council and TNS Gallup Finland.
The gain seems modest, but it is especially welcome in a country where many companies are still fighting adverse economic conditions. GDP fell 1% last year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and Finland faces a big budget deficit. In that context, solid rises in digital advertising are very reassuring. Moreover, Finland’s economy should regain momentum this year. The EIU forecast real GDP growth of 1.1% in 2014—and total media advertising should recover in parallel, eMarketer estimates, with spending up 1.5%, to $1.75 billion, after two years of negative growth.
Display ad spending—which claimed almost half of Finland’s digital total—rose 13.4% during 2013, according to IAB Finland. Investment in search and digital directories grew 5.3%. Classified ads were the only category to post a fall, with spending down 3.1% on 2012. Classifieds formed the smallest slice of the digital ad spending pie, however, accounting for just €33.4 million (about $44.5 million).
Mobile was the big story in 2013 as ad spending on mobile phones and tablets rocketed 368%. By year-end, mobile advertising comprised 8.7% of all investments in digital display ads. In-stream advertising was another winner, rising 24% to account for 9.1% of all display. Social media claimed 10% of digital ad spending overall, and search took 36%.
Despite these advances and high internet and smartphone penetration in Finland—eMarketer predicts that 82.9% and 53.6% of the population will use these in 2014, respectively—the country’s digital advertising market remains less developed than those of its neighbors. In Sweden, for example, spending on digital ads reached 27.4% of total media ad investments in 2013, eMarketer estimates. But sunnier economic prospects will do much to boost the Finnish market this year and next.
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