2021 saw the digital display advertising market grow by over €1 billion

The Online-Vermarkterkreis (OVK), part of the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft e.V. (BVDW), published the latest market figures for digital advertising in March 2022, showing that the digital advertising market grew significantly in 2021.

Digital advertising market: The OVK is forecasting rising sales for the digital advertising market in 2022 as well.
Image: © Microsoftedge/ Unsplash

Pandemic driving the digital advertising market

The COVID-19 crisis has given digitalization a real boost. This is reflected in the sales figures for the digital advertising market, which rose a whopping 24.7% in 2021 – that equates to over €1 billion more than in 2020. Digital display advertising generated an impressive €5.120 billion in Germany in 2021, with the service, retail, and automotive industries again leading the way on display spending. The OVK is also forecasting double-digit growth of 11.8% for the current year, equivalent to sales of €5.723 billion.

5,723 billion euros
expected turnover in 2022

Rasmus Giese, Managing Director of United Internet Media and Chair of the OVK: “Although the effects of the pandemic specifically will ease somewhat, advertising budgets will still continue to shift toward the digital sector. As a result, the double-digit growth will continue at a high level, even once the extraordinary trend triggered by COVID-19 over the past two years comes to an end.”

Programmatic advertising enormously popular

When it comes to overall display revenue, the share of programmatic bookings in particular grew significantly in 2021, and the OVK expects it to break the €4 billion mark in the current year, based on its rise to over 70%. This is no surprise, as programmatic advertising uses sophisticated technology to accurately identify target groups and reach them with minimal effort and cost – an opportunity that many marketers will continue to exploit going forward.


The OVK expects moving image advertising to increase at a lower rate within the display advertising market, predicting sales of around €2.1 billion in 2022.

BVDW: Paid content trend survey

How many users are prepared to pay for editorial online content? The OVK conducted a trend survey of around 3,000 users of digital media services on the topic of paid content.


The result shows that just 20% of respondents consume paid online editorial content, including accessing news portals and subscribing to e-magazines, while 37% of users still want free news content. On the other hand, 66% of respondents could imagine mandatory acceptance of website cookies as an alternative to paid models.

37 %
still want free news content

Steffen Bax, Managing Director of iq digital media marketing and Deputy Chair of the OVK: “Overall, our study shows that advertising revenue is still an essential part of financing online journalistic content.”

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