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Digital advertising has evolved at different speeds in the leading Western European nations. Germany, the largest Continental market, is more mature than France in this respect, and both are more advanced than Italy and Spain.
In Germany, growth in digital ad spending is expected to peak in 2013, while France should see its most dramatic gains next year. In Italy and Spain, by contrast, the economic turmoil of recent years has severely hindered the development of digital advertising. Growth rates in both countries, which reflect those markets' relative immaturity, are still climbing and are projected to begin falling only after 2015.
In most of Western Europe's major ad markets, expenditure on search ads is diminishing as a share of total digital ad spending, while display advertising is increasing. The popularity of video ads among both consumers and advertisers is a major driver of display's growth in the region.
Thanks to surging levels of mobile usage, including smartphone ownership, mobile ad spending is rising more rapidly than any other category of digital ad spending in major Western European markets. This is still a very young industry; in 2013, mobile internet ads will account for less than 9% of total digital ad outlays in France and Germany, for example, and less than 6% in Spain. By 2017, though, an estimated 36.5% of all digital ad spending in Spain will go to the mobile internet.
Advertisers in Western Europe were among the first in the world to embrace digital options. As a result, much of the region—the UK, Germany and the Nordic countries, in particular—constitutes a vibrant and relatively mature marketplace for digital advertising. In many areas of southern Europe, including Italy and Spain, advertisers have been slower to shift ad budgets to digital formats, and there is still remarkable potential for growth.
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