BRUSSELS: Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) has some of the fastest growing digital advertising markets in the region, but these are also the least mature and the most at risk from GDPR, according to an industry figure.

The AdEx Benchmark 2017 report, published last week, noted that seven of the 11 markets growing faster than the European average of 13.2% came from CEE, led by Belarus (33.9%), Serbia (23.7%) and Russia (21.9%).

The Czech Republic (18.7%), Slovenia (18.4%), Hungary (16.7%) and Romania (16.1%) also returned above-average growth in digital adspend.

Below-average figures were returned by Poland (11.7%), Croatia (10.7%), Bulgaria (10.4%) and Slovakia (4.4%).

In terms of digital advertising spend per capita – a metric that helps to evaluate the maturity and scope for development of a market – all the CEE countries were below average. At €60.5, only the Czech Republic came anywhere near the European average per capita spend of €64.4.

Hungary (€26.0), Poland (€23.9), Slovakia (€23.5), Russia (€22.8), Slovenia (€22.7) and Croatia (€11.4) all returned double digit spends, but Bulgaria (€4.9), Serbia (€4.1), fast-growing Belarus (€4.1) and Romania (€3.1) were in single digits.

In comparison, per capita spending in the UK, Europe’s most mature digital ad market, stood at €240.0 in 2017.

“In mature markets, a lot of attention is paid to eliminating fraud and ensuring brand safety – issues critical to the development of the online advertising segment,” noted Wlodzimierz Schmidt, CEO of IAB Poland.

He acknowledged that CEE markets have lagged behind in terms of maturity, but added that these “have recently observed, despite local specifics and differences, significant growth in volume as well as more quality initiatives”.

“However, one of the key features of the CEE markets is fragmentation and the number of relatively small local companies,” he said. “Therefore, this is the part of Europe that may be potentially most influenced by GDPR implementation.”

Sourced from IAB Europe; additional content by WARC staff