Mobile advertising spend surges 78% to €141m

Spending on digital advertising in Ireland hit €340m last year - IAB PwC report


The amount of money spent on mobile advertising in Ireland rocketed 78 per cent last year, according to a new study by industry body IAB and accountancy firm PwC.

Mobile advertising now represents €4 in every €10 spent on digital ads in Ireland and had an estimated value of €141 million in 2015.

Total digital spending reached an estimated €340 million in 2015, rising 29 per cent compared to the previous year, according to the study. Advertising agencies predict that the growth rate will be almost as high in 2016.

“The big story from our 2015 report is the acceleration of mobile advertising,” said IAB Ireland chief executive Suzanne McElligott. “Mobile advertising is beginning to catch up with user engagement on mobile devices.”

Digital display advertising, which includes social media ads, video-on-demand ads and so-called native ads, rose 38 per cent to €137 million.

Within this category, some €45 million is estimated to have been spent on native advertising – or ads that appear in formats that mimic the content of a website or app. Several publishers and platforms increased their activities in this area last year.

Social media display ads saw 72 per cent growth to €49 million, while spending on digital video grew 71 per cent to €24.5 million.

Paid search advertising grew 28 per cent year-on-year to €176 million. Paid search ads – for example ads purchased for certain keywords on Google – remain the biggest category of digital advertising. Online classified ads are a much smaller part of the market, with an estimated value of €27 million last year.

Some 28 publishers took part in the IAB PwC study, with other participants including sales houses and advertising networks. The authors estimate that the study accounts for 90 per cent of online ad spending in Ireland.

Google, Twitter and Facebook do not break out their earnings from Irish advertisers and their revenue is estimated by PwC and IAB based on figures supplied by a representative sample of advertisers. RTÉ also does not submit data to the study and its ad sales are instead drawn from its most recent annual report.

Despite concerns about the visibility of ads due to the spread of adblocking software, mobile advertising is forecast to increase as advertisers catch up with consumer habits.

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, according to analysis by Statcounter.

According to a recent survey by telecoms group Eir, three-quarters of the Irish population use the internet at least once a day and one in five say they access the internet every waking hour.