IX Perspectives

The State of Programmatic in the Nordics

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The Nordics” refer to a cluster of countries in the north of Europe: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Though they are usually merged these five, distinct countries into one region, each operates and grows in different ways and at different rates, particularly when it comes to media and advertising. 

Historically, The Nordics were hyper-focused on print and television, consolidating much of the spending power into the hands of a few groups. Though media is far from fragmented today, the channels used have certainly shifted. Last year, the institutet för reklam- och mediestatistik (also known as irm, an organisation that measures the advertising market of Sweden and Norway) reported ad revenue throughout the Nordic market shot up by 4.7 percent (approximately €8.6 billion). But what does this growth look like in each country?

Let’s start with Sweden, which has the largest, most mature market of the Nordic countries, in both size and ad spend potential. According to Statista, Sweden has the potential to generate €2.2 billion from digital advertising in 2021. Specifically, emerging formats like programmatic video are expected to bring in as much as €56 million in 2020, swallowing nearly 25 percent of the entire market (no surprise, given their traditional focus on TV). With this in mind, we expect Sweden will remain a powerhouse in the Nordics region. 

Another Nordic powerhouse? Norway: Home to the second strongest digital advertising market in the Nordics, with continued growth in store. Currently bringing in approximately €1.1 billion in ad revenue, eMarketer predicts Norway will hit 65.5+ percent of total media ad spend in 2019 — surpassing Sweden’s 60.3 percent, and solidifying its status. With powerhouse publishing houses like Schibsted with 4 billion ad impressions a year Norway is reinforcing itself as the up-and-coming market of the Nordics. 

Additionally, Denmark and Finland have also shown positive growth in the programmatic arena. Statista reports that by 2023, programmatic will make up 76 percent of the digital advertising market, while Finland is predicted to make up 73 percent by 2023. Though Finland’s advertisers still prefer print media, we’ve seen incremental increases in their digital activity in recent years, suggesting they’ll be investing even more in digital media in the coming years.

So what’s next for this region? We are seeing this play out two ways. First being the mass adoption of programmatic across the region. Programmatic has never been as vital as it is now, this region will continue to capitalise on the opportunities that arise with programmatic. Lastly, video will be playing a major role in the continued growth of the digital community. Our very own Andrew Casale even goes as far to predict that “Header bidding will have an even bigger impact on video than display.”

Collectively, it’s safe to say the Scandinavian region is on the rise — shifting spend away from print, into digital, and growing at a remarkable pace. Needless to say, the Index Exchange team looks forward to continuing to support this sliver of Europe, tailoring strategies to the many nuances and opportunities within each of these five countries.

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