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Social Boosts Digital Advertising's Dominance in France

Nonsocial digital ad investment anemic by comparison

Following a 2016 in which digital ad spending surpassed TV outlays in France for the first time, digital extended its lead on other media in the first quarter of 2017, according to data released this week by Syndicat des Régies Internet (SRI). And social media was largely responsible for that growth.

Research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Union des Entreprises de Conseil et d’Achat Media (UDECAM) for SRI shows digital ad spending rose 9.8% year over year in Q1 2017, to total just over €1.81 billion ($2.00 billion).

Digital’s share of the country’s total media ad spending rose to 33.0% for the quarter, up from a record 29.6% for the full year in 2016.

Display was the fastest growing format during the period, up 17.7% year over year to €644 million ($712.4 million) in Q1 2017. That increase helped its share of total digital ad spending grow 2 percentage points to 35% over the same time period.

Search continued to make up the largest share of digital ad spending, accounting for 55% of digital advertising expenditures in the quarter. The ad format saw outlays rise 7.0% year over year to €994 million ($1.10 billion) in the first quarter of the year.

Social media ad spending, which in this study excluded investment in YouTube ads, was largely responsible for display’s increased investment. Advertising spent on social media platforms reached €288 million ($318.6 million), an increase of 45.9% from the first quarter of 2016.

Display Ad Spending in France, Social* vs. Nonsocial, Q1 2016 & Q1 2017 (millions of €, % change and % of total digital display ad spending)

Social media ad spending also increased its share of overall digital display ad investment to 45% over the same period, an increase of 9 percentage points. By comparison, outlays on all other types of display advertising combined rose by just 1.5%.

SRI’s study also found that 45% of video ad spending in Q1 2017 was directed toward social media, and that social media video ad outlays totaled €106 million ($117.3 million) for the quarter. And the vast majority (82%) of out-stream video ad outlays were earmarked for social media.

Out-stream video advertising in social media is changing the distribution of digital video ad dollars overall. Fifty-five percent of all digital video advertising in France during the quarter was for out-stream ads, up from 43% a year earlier, according to SRI’s figures. Spending on those units reached €130 million ($143.8 million) in the first quarter of the year, while investment for in-stream video ads slipped 2% year over year.

Cliff Annicelli

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