June 10, 2011, 1:04 PM

Spending on web display ads outpaces search in Europe, a new report says

Even so, search remains the most popular online ad format, according to the IAB.

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Online display advertising has overtaken paid search advertising as the fastest growing web ad format in Europe, according to a report issued this week by IAB Europe. The trade group, which is affiliated with the U.S.-based Interactive Advertising Bureau, says that spending on display ads last year increased 21.3% in Europe, more than the 15.1% increase for search advertising.

The report gave no spending amounts for display and search advertising, but IAB Europe says that total online ad spending in Europe last year reached 17.7 billion euros (US$25.4 billion), up 15.7% from 15.3 billion euros (US$21.9 billion) in 2009. Countries that experienced the largest rate of online ad spending growth were Russia, 37%, the Czech Republic, 24%, Denmark, 14%, and France, 7%. The countries with the highest amount of online ad spending last year were, in descending order, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. Together, those countries accounted for 74% of all online ad spending in 2010, the report says.

Despite the gains for display, search advertising continues to command a larger share of online advertising dollars in Europe, the report says. Search accounts for 45% of online ad spend, compared with 33% for display and 22% for classified and directories.

Taken together, spending for online ads accounts for 18% of total ad spending in Europe, the report says.  In some countries, online ad spending commands an ever larger share of all ad dollars. “It is now beyond 20% in some markets—the U.K. at 29%, Denmark at 28%—whilst it’s only 5% in Greece and 4% in Romania,” IAB Europe says.

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