Irish digital ad spend soars 27% to €830m

Growth reflects how Irish people at home and work are spending more time online.

Digital advertising spend in the Irish market for 2021 reached €830m according to the latest results of the IAB PwC Online Adspend report, reflecting a growth rate of 27% year-on-year (YoY). 

The rise is being attributed to more Irish people spending time online and relying on digital services for both work and leisure activities in 2021 than ever before.

“The strong 27% digital adspend growth recorded in 2021 reflects digital moving centre stage for Irish advertisers from SMEs to large local and global brands”

CSO reported 70% of internet users were active on social networks and 84% used instant messaging platforms including WhatsApp and Messenger. E-commerce also saw a dramatic take off in 2021 with CSO reporting 80% of internet users purchased online. 

 “2021 saw a dramatic take off in e-commerce as businesses increasingly adopted digital channels to recruit, engage and fulfil consumers during the pandemic,” said Suzanne McElligott, CEO, IAB Ireland.

“The strong 27% digital adspend growth recorded in 2021 reflects digital moving centre stage for Irish advertisers from SMEs to large local and global brands.”

Digital ad boom

Display advertising grew by 40% to €498m in 2021, which was driven by the growth in Social at 41% YoY and Video at 53% YoY. Display advertising holds a share of 60% of the total Irish digital advertising market. 

Search advertising grew by 10% YoY in 2021 with an adspend of €288m and a share of 35% of the total Irish digital advertising market.

“The key adspend growth drivers continue to be Video & Social. Video advertising grew by 53% in 2021,” said Connor Mace, Strategy Manager at PwC.

“Social Display at €375m grew by 41% and now accounts for 76% of all display adspend, however, it is also important to note that non-social display grew by 28% in 2021 and is 14% higher than in 2019 (pre-pandemic) which reflects a strong performance for publishers in the Irish market.” 

“The 2021 adspend report illustrates the resilience of the Irish advertising industry with positive growth across formats,” said David Monaghan, chair of IAB Ireland’s board and head of Commercial at News UK and Ireland

All indicators for 2022 continue to predict digital growth. One area to watch is Digital Audio. With 71% of Irish adults now listening per week* it is not surprising that the digital audio adspend of €11m in 2021 is highlighted by adspend participants for further growth in the year ahead.”

20 leading publishers and 2 adnetworks/sales houses participated in the study, many of whom represent multiple websites. Other participants include advertising agencies.

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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