Digital advertising: French market to grow 9% in 2023, driven by social media, retail media and search

Digital advertising: French market to grow 9% in 2023, driven by social media, retail media and search

The French digital advertising market exceeds the symbolic mark of 9 billion euros, according to the 31st ISR e-pub Observatory, prepared by Oliver Wyman in collaboration with Udecam. 9% growth, benefiting major foreign digital players, driven by social media, retail media and search.

“I refuse to accept the diktat that the large non-European platforms have almost imposed on our ecosystem.” The reaction of Corinne Mrejen, general director of the Partners division of the Echos – Le Parisien group and since the end of the year president of the SRI, to the results of the digital advertising market in France for the year 2023, is clear. If the 31st SRI Electronic Pub Observatory, carried out by Oliver Wyman in collaboration with Udecam, is positive, it is evaluated with mixed feelings. In fact, the market registers a growth of +9% during the year 2023, slightly below. compared to 2022, but always to the detriment of the online press. After having suffered a scare in the first half of 2023 with rather slow growth (+5%), the digital advertising market recovered in the last six months of the year, registering +13% in total.

“We are surpassing the symbolic mark of 9,000 million (9,300 million euros, editor’s note). The market recovered in the second half of the year: there is a phenomenon of getting used to the lack of visibility.” All levers are moving upwards: “Everything is very positive,” according to Corinne Mrejen. “Advertisers were a little cautious in the first half, especially in FMCG, but they opened the floodgates in the second,” adds Maïté Dailleau, partner at the firm Oliver Wyman.

The funnel does not favor press titles. What is rewarded is performance: search and social media continue to drive the market. Direct marketing is also benefiting from good growth: “it is a safe haven, advertisers who want results go there”, considers Jean-Baptiste Rouet, president of the Udecam digital commission. The social sector is the most dynamic, with a growth of 12%.

“This strong progression of performance levers is an increasingly important trend in spending,” according to Maïté Dailleau. If social surpasses the rest of the market with a growth rate of 12%, it is thanks to video (46% of the segment’s weight). “A very surprising acceleration in social networks: 11% growth in the instream video part (ads inserted in videos broadcast on social networks, editor’s note),” observes Jean-Baptiste Rouet. “With 166 million, this is very significant at the station level. It is Meta who brings this format. Facebook is part of the advertisers’ agenda on this issue. For the Chief Digital Officer of Publicis Media, “these are the same formats on TiktTok or YouTube, but Facebook is no less favorable or worse. In Meta there was a desire to enter this category: you cannot search for television advertisers in the output current.

Audio navigates on a screen powered by the main platforms

Across the market, display growth slows in 2023 (+6% vs. +11% in 2022). The place of honor is occupied by video, with 50% viewing and growth of +11%, although with a slight slowdown, Instream continues to lead the market. Audio, for its part, recorded the largest increase in a year (+30%). It is mainly driven by streaming platforms and therefore records €98 million in advertising revenue, compared to €76 million in 2022 and €48 million in 2021.

However, the share of European players has dropped slightly to 22%: in this growing market, the Google-Meta-Amazon (GMA) trio continues to increase its share to 68% in 2023. “They occupy important positions because they offer new formats, new offers, attracting new audiences by adapting to uses,” laments Corinne Mrejen, who sees an increase in polarization: “Asymmetries have been established: the recurring observations we observe are the growth gaps that continue to widen between publishers and great platforms.” In fact, online publishing and information players are not benefiting from the growth of the display market. Traditional media is experiencing a double downward effect: positioned mainly in display, the segment shows the lowest market growth in 2023, and its penetration within the segment is declining (-6%), while other players benefit from dynamic positive on CTV or digital audio; The observatory questions the economic model of these actors: advertising represents, for example, more than 80% of the digital income of press titles in Europe. “I warn about visualization, which advances less quickly than the other levers: I have a real concern about the financing model for high-value content,” explains the president of the SRI. “There is a reason for the integration: when we go to Le Figaro, for example, we do not come to watch a video, the experience is not the same,” according to Jean-Baptiste Rouet. “In media planning they arrive later. In online video, we are the last to feed the editors,” he says.

Retail media is taking off

One of the big winners in the market continues to be retail media, with growth of 24%. “This confirms its acceleration,” analyzes Jean-Baptiste Rouet. “All the retailers are getting involved, the number of retailers is increasing, they have understood that there is money to be made, both in the display segment and in the search segment.” Growth driven largely by Amazon, around 70%. The leverage, which reached one billion, is now presented separately in the observatory. It is the second largest contributor to market growth, behind social networks, with an additional 215 million. “It is search that is driving its growth. Players in the consumer goods sector have positioned themselves at the bottom of the funnel to justify their advertising investments,” explains Maïté Dailleau. “And with retail media, we are very close to the act of purchasing.” Additionally, search growth is driven by retail searches (+34%). Because retail media offerings continue to be structured, with the launch of dedicated agencies and new offerings; and the strategic role of transactional data, which allows users to be targeted and performance measured, is reinforced in a context of the disappearance of third-party cookies. “We are also witnessing a convergence between retail and media”: partnerships are emerging between media and publishers with content and inventories and retail players with their purchase/loyalty data.

Towards a new grammar of efficiency?

In terms of outlook, the digital advertising market is estimated at around €10 billion in 2024, with growth of +8%. For traditional media, the trend is not good. In 2030, 65% of the market will be monopolized by large digital players, compared to the current 52%, according to a study by Arcom and DGMIC published at the end of January. Media that invest in information and creative content (most historical media, but also some video-on-demand services) will see their resources continue to decrease: 7.3 billion euros in 2012, 6.1 in 2022 and 5.3 in 2030 , that is, a future reduction. of -800 million euros until 2030. To correct the situation, what priorities does the SRI give itself? “Our first mission is to affirm the value of online advertising, an important vector for our fellow citizens, for our economy, which can change behavior on important issues, particularly regarding ecological transition. Advertising must be considered of general interest,” insists Corinne Mrejen. To support agencies in the face of the progressive disappearance of third-party cookies, an SRI-Udecam working group will be deployed to initiate “a constructive dialogue with the buying side.” « On doit faire fonctionner notre marché différemment: l’ère post-cookies tiers est un basculement pour notre marché, c’est une opportunité de mettre en valeur les inventoraires des éditeurs, de gagner en souveraineté, et valoriser nos data first party à haute added value “. The SRI also wants to develop measurement standards, in particular pushing for a unified indicator to measure attention. “Aren’t there other ways to measure conversion?” », asks the SRI president, imagining “a new grammar to write about efficiency”, promoting in particular responsible advertising. The message: publishers still have cards to play, a safe zone for advertisers. “Responsibility has an impact. We have to prove it, but it will take a long time.” One blessing for current market leaders.

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