IAB Ireland / PWC Online Adspend 2021 study launched


IAB Ireland Press Release

13th April 2022

Irish Digital Advertising Spend grew by 27% in 2021 according to the latest IAB Ireland / PwC Online Adspend Study published today.

  • Total digital ad spend was €830m in 2021, reflecting a growth of 27% from 2020. 
  • Online display advertising grew 40% to €498m in 2021, with Social and Video cited as the primary drivers.
  • Spend on Display excluding Social grew by 28% to €112m in 2021.
  • Search advertising grew by 10% to €288m.
  • Classified advertising grew by 15% to €43m, retaining a 5% share of total online adspend.
  • IAB Ireland adspend participants predict digital adspend growth in 2022 of 15% on average.

Digital advertising spend in the Irish market for 2021 reached €830m according to the latest results of the IAB PwC Online Adspend report, reflecting a growth rate of 27% year-on-year (YoY).

Display advertising grew by 40% to €498m in 2021, which was driven by the growth in Social at 41% YoY and Video at 53% YoY. Display advertising holds a share of 60% of the total Irish digital advertising market.

Search advertising grew by 10% YoY in 2021 with an adspend of €288m and a share of 35% of the total Irish digital advertising market.

2021: Growth in digital consumption in Ireland 

More Irish people spent time online and relied on digital services for both work and leisure activities in 2021 than ever before. CSO reported 70% of internet users were active on social networks and 84% used instant messaging platforms including WhatsApp and Messenger. eCommerce also saw a dramatic take off in 2021 with CSO reporting 80% of internet users purchased online.

Commenting on the study results Suzanne McElligott, CEO, IAB Ireland, said, “2021 saw a dramatic take off in eCommerce as businesses increasingly adopted digital channels to recruit, engage and fulfil consumers during the pandemic. The strong 27% digital adspend growth recorded in 2021 reflects digital moving centre stage for Irish advertisers from SMEs to large local and global brands.”

Connor Mace, Strategy Manager at PwC, added: “The key adspend growth drivers continue to be Video & Social. Video advertising grew by 53% in 2021. Social Display at €375m grew by 41% and now accounts for 76% of all display adspend, however, it is also important to note that non-social display grew by 28% in 2021 and is 14% higher than in 2019 (pre-pandemic) which reflects a strong performance for publishers in the Irish market.”

David Monaghan, Chairman of IAB Ireland Board and Commercial Director, News UK and Ireland said, “The 2021 adspend report illustrates the resilience of the Irish advertising industry with positive growth across formats. All indicators for 2022 continue to predict digital growth. One area to watch is Digital Audio. With 71% of Irish adults now listening per week* it is not surprising that the digital audio adspend of €11m in 2021 is highlighted by adspend participants for further growth in the year ahead.”

*IAB Ireland/Red C Research: Listen Up Audio 2021


For further information please contact: Maeve O’Meara, Marketing Manager, IAB Ireland, Tel: 086 852 2291 and Email: maeve@iabireland.ie


Important notes to editors:

  • The IAB has been working with PwC since 1997 to survey the value of Online Adspend in Europe and North America.
  • 20 leading publishers and 2 adnetworks/sales houses participated in the study, many of whom represent multiple websites. Other participants include advertising agencies. 
  • 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 been included.  Participation is on a voluntary basis.
  • Total advertising revenue is reported on a gross basis (i.e. including commission). Figures and percentages are rounded.  In some area advertising formats are not mutually exclusive – there is some overlap across specific formats.
  • Adspend revenue is drawn up on the basis of actual figures provided by the study participants on a confidential basis to PwC. The study results are prepared by PwC based on the figures provided by participants, which have not been audited by PwC.
  • Google, Meta (including Instagram), Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn do not publish their earnings from Irish advertisers. Instead PwC in conjunction with IAB created an independent estimate of their revenues from Irish advertisers and agencies, by extrapolating from spend data provided directly by a representative sample of their clients. 
  • RTÉ does not submit data to the IAB PwC Adspend Study. However, RTÉ’s digital adspend is deduced through a Freedom of Information request as well as discussions with Ireland’s leading advertising agencies.
  • Programmatic advertising is the buying and selling of online advertising inventory through automated methods rather than human actions. This includes but is not limited to Real-Time Bidding (RTB).

About IAB Ireland

IAB Ireland (www.iabireland.ie) 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

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 158 countries with over 250,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.