Search, social lead French digital advertising market

By Nicolas Peltier

20 Minutes France

Paris, France


If you’re looking for figures about the French digital advertising market, have a look at the 2017 edition of the “e-pub Observatory,” compiled by PwC and recently released by the SRI and UDECAM, which are professional unions of publishers, ad sellers, and agencies.

First, it explains that the French market, which is estimated at €4.1 billion, grew by 12% last year — now on track with the United Kingdom. With more than one-third of the market share, digital is solid in its leading position on the media landscape, ahead of television.

Like other countries, France and its publishers aren’t free of the duopoly situation created by Google and Facebook: Search and social are now 78% of the digital advertising market (90% when you look at mobile only). Even if it’s worrying, these numbers are not a surprise and just confirm the massive lead these two tech giants have.

But what attracted my attention is the display dynamism. While Google search has grown by 8% and represents 50% of the market, display progressed by 20% — faster than the global market. Today it represents more than one-third of the investments, with almost €1.5 billion.

To help you understand what’s behind this growth, here are four facts to keep in mind when you’re talking about digital display advertising in France.

1. Display investments on mobile now exceed desktop, but still don’t match with users’ reality.

With more than €700 million, display investments on mobile have grown a lot (+59%) and now exceed investments on desktop, which have decreased by 4%. Mobile now makes up 49% of the display market.

It’s definitely a positive sign from advertisers, who are more and more confident with this device, even if there is still a big gap with use. Indeed, mobile traffic has exceeded desktop traffic since 2015. So display advertising on mobile still has a margin of progress in which to prove its value and appeal to more investments in the future.

2. Social media has increased.

Display grew up exponentially. That’s wonderful, except that without social adverstising (meaning all the other sites, publishers, and similar), that growth was only 4%. That is much lower than social progression, which is estimated at 48% and propelled the global display numbers upward. With 46% of the market share today on display, social media should be able to exceed 50% soon. Maybe that will happen in 2018.

3. Video is in great shape.

The display market has taken advantage of video dynamism. This format has progressed by 38% (versus 20% for the global display market) and now makes up almost 40% of the market.

However, here again, we see two different situations. On one side, a growth of 90% for social media; on the other side, +16% for other sites and publishers.

4. Programmatic made up almost €1 billion in sales.

The big move in the direction of a programmatic-only display continues. With progress of 41% last year, programmatic investments now represent almost two-thirds of the market, with a total of €901 million. It should exceed the symbolic step of €1 billion this year.

However, without social media, programmatic share is only 36%. Even if it’s a growth compared to 2016, it’s less than the global display market. So the margin is still important, and publishers have to continue with their efforts and continue to develop this way to sell their inventory. Otherwise, social media could take the lead in this area, too.

About Nicolas Peltier

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