Irish Digital Advertising Spend grew by 8% in 2020 according to the latest IAB Ireland / PwC Online Adspend Study published today.


IAB Ireland press release

Thursday, April 15th

Irish Digital Advertising Spend grew by 8% in 2020 according to the latest IAB Ireland / PwC Online Adspend Study published today.

  • Total digital ad spend was €726m in 2020, reflecting a growth of 8% from 2019.
  • Social and video were the primary drivers of online display advertising, which grew 12% to €367m in 2020.
  • Search advertising grew by 5% to €321m.
  • Spend on digital advertising, excluding Social, Search and Classified, declined by 10% in 2020.
  • As we hope to move out of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, IAB Ireland adspend participants predict a 10-20% increase in planned digital ad spend in 2021.

Digital advertising spend in the Irish market for 2020 reached €726m according to the latest results of the IAB PwC Online Adspend report, reflecting a growth rate of 8% year-on-year (YoY).

Display advertising grew by 12% to €367m in 2020, which was driven by the growth in Social at 22% YoY and Video at 30% YoY. Display advertising holds a share of 51% of the total Irish digital advertising market

Search advertising grew by 5% YoY in 2020 with an adspend of €321m and a share of 44% of the total Irish digital advertising market.

Classified online advertising experienced a 9% YoY decrease reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Classified adspend now holds a 5% share of the total 2020 digital adspend at €37m.

Growth across Search, Display, Social Media and Video – 2020 vs 2019

Formats are not all mutually exclusive – there is some overlap across specific formats

All growth figures are cross platform, with figures and percentages rounded

1. Includes social media, native, video, email, standard display units, section takeovers, digital audio and network-related advertising 

2. Includes social video, social native (in-feed) and social display

3. Includes publisher video and social video

Source: IAB / PwC Online Adspend FY 2020

Growth in digital consumption in Ireland

  • 91% of households have access to the internet at home
  • Over eight in every ten (81%) use the internet every day
  • 99% used a conventional search engine in the past month (any device) 

(Source:Information Society Statistics – Households 2020 [CSO])

• There were 3.79m social media users in Ireland in 2020  Social media penetration is at 76% 94% watch online videos and 36% consume vlogs

(Source: Digital 2021 Ireland – We Are Social and Hootsuite)

  • 71% of adults listen to digital audio, consuming an average of 16.6 hours per week

(Source: IAB Ireland RED C Listen Up Ireland 2020)

Commenting on the study results Suzanne McElligott, CEO, IAB Ireland, said, “2020 was a most challenging year for the advertising industry. However, the pandemic has resulted in digital becoming increasingly central to our lives as people turn to digital to stay informed, in touch and entertained during the periods of lockdown.

The 5% growth in Search and 12% growth in Display advertising reflect advertisers use of digital to maintain engagement with their customers during these uncertain times. The strong 12% growth in Display has been driven by Video and Social formats and we are very conscious that many of our members did not experience growth in 2020. With Core predicting 12.9 % growth in 2021 and our adspend participants predicting a growth of between 10 and 20% we look forward to a better year for the Irish advertising industry”.

Connor Mace, Manager at PwC, added: “The resilience of digital advertising in Ireland with an 8% growth in 2020 can be seen across markets with a 12% growth recorded in the 2020 IAB US PwC adspend report. The key growth drivers continue to be Social and Search with Video driving Display advertising growth. Social adspend at€272m now represents 74% of total display spend in 2020. The 30% growth recorded in Video adspend to €168m includes social and non-social video, and demonstrates advertisers’ commitment to this format”.

David Monaghan, Chairman of IAB Ireland Board and Head of Commercial News UK and Ireland said, “The ongoing periods of lockdown in 2020 with restricted trading and travel impacted adversely on our advertising industry. It is worth noting that during this period that IAB Ireland’s publishers reported an average increase of 11% in unique users, 17% increase in page views  in 2020 with average time spent on site (dwell time) up 16%. This strong growth in digital audiences signals that our members are well placed to respond to the opening up of our economy in coming months and the take off of advertising .”

Infographic is available to view here. The full report is for IAB Ireland members, please email to receive a copy.


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