Digital Adspend hits high of €340m with 29% growth in 2015, IAB & PwC Adspend Study reveals

  • Digital Adspend hits high of €340m with 29% growth in 2015
  • Mobile advertising represents 41% of total digital spend with growth year-on-year of 78%
  • Display advertising growth of 38% is driven by Video on Demand, Social Media and Native.

The 2015 IAB PwC Online Adspend Study records growth of 29% in the Irish digital advertising market with a total digital spend of €340m.

Digital Advertising Formats (Desktop and Mobile)

Display advertising had the highest growth rate at 38% representing €137m in 2015. Display now represents 40% of total digital spend.

Paid-for-Search advertising has grown by 28% year on year and remains the dominant digital format with a 52% share of total online adspend at €176m.

Classified advertising online holds an 8% share of total online adspend at €27m.

Within the Display Category, Social Media Display saw a 72% growth from €28.5m in 2014 to €49m in 2015. Spend on digital video grew by 71% from €14.3m in 2014 to €24.5m in 2015 reflecting the strong commitment of brand advertisers to the video format.

Also within Display, Native advertising is tracking at 33% of total digital display with adspend of €45m. Native formats include in-feed advertiser controlled ads such as those appearing on Facebook and Twitter, publisher controlled in-feed advertising which is a feature of content rich sites such as news and entertainment sites as well as Discovery/Recommendation units embedded in sites by specialists such as Outbrain and Taboola.

yoy growth rates digital formats

Finance & Retail are the top advertiser categories in Display Spend

Finance and Retail are the top spending categories in digital display with a spend of 14%  respectively  followed by Telco at 11%, Auto at 10% and FMCG at 9%.

Irish Mobile Adspend now represents €4 in every €10 of total digital adspend and a total mobile adspend of €141m

Mobile advertising is a key driver of total digital adspend growth accounting for 81% of the total growth arising from the increase in mobile advertising. Mobile Search accounts for 63% of mobile spend at €89m with Mobile Display advertising representing a 37% share at €52m

Key Drivers of growth:

Continued growth of digital consumption, in particular on Mobile

75% of Irish people use a smartphone*.

Web traffic on smartphones in Ireland is almost a third higher than the EU average, a quarter higher than the UK and a tenth higher than the US. A third of all internet usage is via Smartphone**.

75% of the Irish population use the Internet at least once a day – 1 in 5 admit to accessing the Internet every waking hour***.

*Consumer Barometer 2015

**Statcounter August 2015

*** eir Connected Living Survey November 2015

 2) Irish Marketers are committed to growing online budget in 2016

 Digital is the top ranking planned area of growth for Irish marketers in 2015, according to the Alternatives/ MII Sentiment Survey 2015.

Digital Strategy is also marketers’ highest – ranking growth strategy at 48%**

28% of marketers plan to dedicate between 20% and 50% of their budget to digital**

47% of marketers will devote 20% of their budget to digital**

**Alternatives/MII Marketing Salary & Employers Sentiment Survey 2015

Further growth predicted for Online Adspend:

PwC predicts 14.6% growth (CAGR) in Irish digital adspend during the period 2014-2019 (PwC 2015 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook).

Media agency predictions: Carat predicts a 25% growth rate for digital in 2016 with Core Media forecasting a growth of 23%.

Commenting on the study results, Suzanne McElligott, CEO, IAB Ireland, said: “The big story from our 2015 report is the acceleration of mobile advertising to representing 41% of the total digital adspend. Mobile advertising is beginning to catch up with user engagement on mobile devices. IAB’s newly launched LEAN initiative, which promotes the use of ad formats that are Lighter, Encrypted, Ad-choice Compliant and Non-intrusive, will further enable advertisers to enhance their engagement with users across all digital devices”.

Commenting on the survey results, Kieran Little, Strategy Manager, PwC, added: “The digital advertising industry in Ireland continues to show very strong growth, which reached 29% in 2015 (YoY). We are seeing significant focus by advertisers on mobile advertising and strong growth on digital display driven by video-on-demand, social media and native advertising.”


View the Infographic to accompany the report here.

IAB Members can log-in to access and download the full report here.

For further information please contact: Maeve O’Meara, Marketing Manager, IAB Ireland, 086 852 2291,

Notes to Editors

Background to the study

  •  The IAB has been working with PwC since 1997 to survey the value of online adspend in Europe and North America.
  •  28 leading publishers participated in the study, many of whom represent multiple websites. Other participants include sales houses and advertising networks.
  • Participating publishers were selected on the basis of traffic data and market knowledge. We estimate that our study accounts for 90% of online adspend in Ireland. Reported figures are not adjusted to account for other organisations that have not participated. Participation is on a voluntary basis.
  • Total advertising revenue is reported on a gross basis (i.e. including agency commission).
  •  Adspend revenue is drawn up on the basis of actual figures provided by study participants. All data was provided to PwC on a confidential basis.  The data is prepared by PwC based on the figures provided by participants, which have not been verified or audited by PwC.
  • Google, Twitter and Facebook do not break out their earnings from Irish advertisers. Instead PwC in conjunction with IAB created an independent estimate of their revenue from Irish advertisers, by extrapolating from spend data provided directly by a representative sample of their clients.
  • RTÉ do not submit data to the IAB PwC Adspend Study. RTÉ’s digital adspend, as reported in RTÉ’s most recent annual report, is included in the study.

About IAB Ireland

IAB Ireland ( is the trade association for the Irish online advertising industry. As a not for profit organisation IAB Ireland works with members to ensure marketers can identify the best role for online in building their brands. IAB Ireland is licensed by IAB US and is a member of the IAB Europe network. The IAB network shares three core objectives, namely to prove, promote and protect the online advertising industry. These objectives are fulfilled through the dissemination of authoritative research, the organisation of educational events and by promoting industry-wide best practice.

About PwC

PwC ( provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services. More than 161,000 people in 154 countries across the PwC  network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice for clients.