Smartphones and tablets are driving a sustained rise in digital advertising in France. However, the ‘mobile’ ad spend is still forecast to account for only 12% of the country’s total advertising expenditure in 2018.

Advertising: mobile spend in France set to hit a billion euro in 2016

The latest report from New York-based independent market research company eMarketer indicates that total expenditure on digital advertising in France during the year 2014 should work out at over $3 billion (€2.5 billion), accounting for 20.2% of the overall media ad spend in the country. The eMarketer analysts reckon the digital ad expenditure figure for 2014 was 7% up on 2013, compared with a 4% rise between 2012 and 2013. Moreover, digital advertising budgets are expected to continue rising in 2015, reaching 21.3% of the total media spend.

The eMarketer report points out that the main driver for growth in the digital advertising market in France is the impressive increase in advertising on mobile devices, which rose by 80% in 2014 alone. Expenditure on ‘mobile’ advertising reached $448 million (€379 million) last year, and is expected to exceed the €billion mark by 2016. Logically, this means that mobile is likely to account for an increasing proportion of the digital ad spend over the coming years. The percentage figure currently stands at 14.7%, and is predicted to rise to 22.2% in 2015 and pass 50% in 2018.

Having said that, when compared with the advertising spend across all media and channels, mobile is still rather negligible, currently attracting barely 3% of advertisers’ outlay, although it eMarketer sees this climbing nine percentage points to 12% by 2018.

Advertising on mobile devices is now however beginning to take off, basically due to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets in France, reckons eMarketer senior analyst Karin von Abrams. “Rocketing smartphone usage continues to fuel mobile ad spending in France. eMarketer calculates that 26.7 million people in the country owned at least one smartphone in 2014, and that number is set to reach nearly 33 million in 2015 – equivalent to 64% of all mobile phone users. In addition, more than a third of the entire population already uses a tablet at least once a month. With so much activity taking place on mobile devices, it’s inevitable that advertisers are rushing to capture those eyeballs,” she explains.

Nevertheless, compared to neighbouring countries, France still has a long way to go. France ranks seventh in Europe in terms of overall advertising expenditure, and tenth on mobile ad spend, just ahead of Spain, whose advertising expenditure on mobile accounts for only 1.6% of total media advertising spending.

By Romain Chapron