AMSTERDAM: Online advertising expenditure in Europe topped €40bn in 2016, with central and eastern European (CEE) markets contributing more to growth than ever before, according to new data.

The 2016 AdEx Benchmark study from IAB Europe reported that online ad spending grew 12.2% last year to reach €41.8bn. Eight CEE markets grew at more than 15%, while the UK and Nordic markets also increased at an above-average rate.

All markets participating in the study recorded positive growth and a total of twenty markets grew double-digit for the third year running; three exceeded 30%, including Romania (36.9%), Slovenia (32.2%) and Ireland (31.4%).

The annual study divides the online ad market into three categories: Display, Search and Classifieds & Directories, with the performance of each being driven by shifting uses in devices and changing consumption patterns.

Search remained the largest online advertising category, increasing 12.9% to reach €19.1bn, helped in part by better adoption of mobile – mobile search rose by more than 59% - and maps as search interfaces.

Display outperformed other categories for the third year in succession – a growth rate of 13.8% taking it to nearly €16bn. Mobile display, in particular, grew 53.3% to €5.4bn of the overall total and took a 33.3% share of the display market. Video also performed strongly to claim an 8.2% of the total display market.

Classifieds & Directories, by far the smallest category, accounted for the remaining €6.7bn, but has seen some growth fuelled by industry consolidation.

"Mobile and video are the powerhouses driving the European online advertising market as we enter a post–desktop banner advertising world," observed Daniel Knapp, Senior Director TMT at IHS Markit, which compiled the report.

"The rules and practices of online advertising have changed with these new formats and screens gaining ground, " he added, "and our study shows that marketers' and publishers' efforts to innovate both in terms of measurement, delivery, targeting, and creative are paying off."

Data sourced from IAB Europe; additional content by WARC staff