The French advertising industry is continuously evolving to meet the demands and expectations of its audience. This commitment was undoubtedly put to the test when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic strained advertising budgets and reshuffled consumer behavior. After a significant dip in annual expenditures, advertising spending in France managed to bounce back with full force and surpassed 16 billion euros at the end of 2022. The French advertising sector is on a steady digital path, and a closer look at the distribution of advertising spending reveals that digital platforms have recently overtaken linear equivalents.
Withstanding the test of time: offline advertising
France has pioneered various offline advertising platforms and practices. Some of the most impactful innovations include Jean-Claude Decaux's advances in out-of-home (OOH) advertising in the early 1960s. Roughly six decades later, OOH ad revenue in France amounted to 1.2 billion euros in 2022 after outdoor ads saw a steep decline in investments due to nationwide lockdowns in year 2020. Other linear advertising platforms such as print and cinema also suffered significant spending cuts as consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating a downward trend in demand that had been unfolding for several years already. Two offline formats that continue to withstand the digital shift of the advertising industry are radio and TV. Data shows that revenues from radio ads had been steadily increasing, reaching almost the same levels as before the crisis. Interestingly, TV advertising revenue in France even exceeded pre-pandemic numbers in 2021, while the latest data from 2022 also suggests that advertisers are not looking to abandon the old-school format just yet.
Online advertising is on a roll
The French advertising landscape is in the midst of a digital transformation. With the number of internet users and the demand for online media content at an all-time high, marketers are leveraging the internet's vast potential and reallocating funds away from offline channels. In 2023, digital ad spend in France was forecast for over 11 billion euros , placing the country among the largest digital ad markets worldwide. When looking at data on the distribution of digital ad spend in France, it is revealed that search advertising remains the top format towards which professionals were flocking, followed by social and display. Roughly five billion euros were devoted to search campaigns in 2022, representing more than 44 percent of total digital expenditures. Meanwhile, spending on social media ad campaigns reached almost three billion euros. While the vast popularity of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok explain this figure, the sum might still come as a surprise considering that French survey respondents also voted social media the least trustworthy advertising medium a year earlier.
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