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Digital the Key to Spain's Ad Industry Growth

Outlays in the sector climbed more than 20% in 2016

April 19, 2017 | Media Buying

As Spain’s economy continues its slow recovery, its ad industry remains largely in the doldrums. In 2016, digital media was the only sector to see a significant increase in investment, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau Spain (IAB Spain) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Whereas magazines, newspapers and out-of-home posted lower ad spending figures compared with 2015, outlays on digital platforms rose 21.5% to nearly €1.57 billion ($1.74 billion). As a result, digital accounted for 29% of all ad outlays in Spain in 2016. Only TV attracted more investment, with a 5.5% boost in spending propelling ad outlays for that media type to €2.12 billion ($2.35 billion).

Digital Ad Spending in Spain, by Format, 2016 (millions of € and % of total)

IAB Spain’s current categorization of digital ad spending in Spain is based on emerging platforms and marketers’ desire to reach audiences across multiple devices. These categories include desktop and mobile, digital out-of-home (DOOH), digital audio and connected TV.

Granted, some of these channels are in their infancy. Desktop and mobile spending made up 97.5% of all digital ad expenditures last year, or nearly €1.53 billion ($1.70 billion). Just over half of that was devoted to search. DOOH accounted for 1.8% of all digital ad outlays, digital audio 0.4% and connected TV a mere 0.3%.

Mobile* Ad Spending Share in Spain, by Industry, 2016 (% of total)

The share of digital ad spend going solely to mobile devices remained effectively constant at 2015 levels (5.8% of total spending), but rose in absolute terms, to €90 million ($99.9 million). Automotive brands were by far the largest contingent of mobile advertisers, responsible for nearly 35% of mobile spending. Travel, transportation and tourism accounted for almost 13% of the total, followed closely by food and drink.

Spain’s mobile advertisers favored placing campaigns on the mobile web, rather than in apps, by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio.

Overall ad spending in Spain increased 8.6% in 2016 to €5.39 billion ($5.98 billion).

—Karin von Abrams

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Worldwide Ad Spending: The eMarketer Forecast for 2017


Paid media advertising outlays worldwide will increase 7.3% in 2017 to $583.91 billion. Growth will be roughly on par with previous estimates, and spending will rise at a steady pace throughout the forecast period, driven by increased investments in digital and mobile ads. Preview Report


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