Interactive Advertising Bureau
25 May 2021

IAB Europe's AdEx Benchmark 2020 Study Reveals European Digital Advertising Market Achieved Positive Growth in 2020


Brussels, Belgium, 25th May, 2021 – IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, announced at its virtual Interact conference today that digital advertising grew 6.3% in 2020 to €69bn. The positive growth figure comes after a challenging year with the impact of COVID-19. Typically, advertising markets react strongly to an economic downturn, but this time digital advertising bucked the historic trend. 

2020 Digital Advertising Investment

Now in its fifteenth year, The AdEx Benchmark study is the definitive guide to advertising expenditure in Europe, covering 28 markets. In 2020, a total of 7 markets experienced double-digit year-on-year growth. Turkey was the most dynamic market posting growth of 34.8% and now entering the top 10 European markets in terms of advertising spend. In 2020, only three markets experienced advertising spend decline. 

Measured against the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent economic deterioration,  even some of the largest markets like Italy, Spain, France, and The UK were posting solid performances. Germany, who was seen to navigate the COVID-19 case numbers better than most, experienced a double digit growth of 10.4% in 2020. 

Social and video post strongest Growth

Driven by the explosion of e-commerce, small businesses and the return of brand advertising in H2, 2020, social and video posted the strongest growth across all channels. Social grew by 15.9% with video growing by an impressive 16.3%. Meanwhile, display grew by 9.1% with search experiencing a 7.9% increase.

New Audio Data available for 2020

Whilst the audio market remains small, coming in at just under 1% of the digital advertising market, it still represents an overall value of €500m. For the first time in the AdEx Benchmarking report, audio figures were included. 

The AdEx Benchmark Study highlights can be downloaded here.

The full AdEx Benchmark 2020 Report which will provide full commentary and data across all 28 markets will be published in June 2021.


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