Spending on online marketing in Europe rose over the course of 2007, according to a new report.

Compiled by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the publication revealed that the European online advertising market was worth about €11.2 billion (£8.8 billion) last year, compared with €7.2 billion in 2006.

This represents a year-on-year growth rate of 40 per cent, IAB Europe and PwC said. Because of this, it appears that the European online marketing sector is getting closer to seeing the growth rates experienced in the US, they added.

Breaking down the results, about two-thirds of European online marketing budgets were found to be spent in the British, German and French markets, which typically represent the biggest geographical sectors for internet advertising.

However, IAB Europe and PwC noted that smaller markets such as Greece, Spain and Slovenia also saw significant growth rates during 2007.

In terms of spending per user, the European average was found to be €80.60, with Norway seeing the highest online marketing spend per user at €133.20, followed by the UK with an average spend of €120.80.

Analysed by sector, the findings also revealed that companies operating in the entertainment and leisure, telecoms, and finance and insurance industries were the biggest spenders on online marketing strategies.

Entertainment and leisure firms were found to be particularly likely to invest in social media and interactive web-based formats for marketing purposes.

"Despite a slowdown in advertising spend on some traditional media, the rise of online advertising in Europe continues unabated," commented Alain Heureux, president of IAB Europe.

"Not only is the growth coming from some of the smaller markets which are seeing significant increases in their market value, but also from the more mature countries as companies move their advertising budgets online for the first time."

According to a recent study conducted by the Online Marketing and Media Show, more than a third of marketers intend to spend up to a quarter of their total advertising budgets on internet campaigns this year.

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