Television has traditionally been the center of entertainment and news for Spanish consumers, so has attracted the majority of investment by advertisers. As digital media has permeated people’s lives, however, online has become the new media darling among brands.
While in many other markets, growth in online advertising spend has been accompanied by declines for TV, in Spain, TV investment is only slightly down on where it was a decade ago in terms of market share, and has been stable for several years. This is in recognition of the role TV continues to play in the daily habits of connected consumers; Spaniards watch TV for more than double the number of minutes they spend each day online.
That is not to understate the importance of online media, especially social networks, which are almost universally used by smartphone users.
WhatApp, the most widely used social channel, is reported to be installed on 99 percent of smartphones in Spain. Its popularity has prompted politicians to use the chat app in last year’s elections as a way to reach out more personally to disengaged voters. It’s also led to a Spanish doctor diagnosing the world’s first case of “WhatsAppitis”, a strain injury caused by repetitive tapping on a mobile keyboard.
Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are also widely used. Spain had its own, home-grown social network, Tuenti, for a decade, but in 2016 the brand switched off its social services to focus on regular mobile services.
Online advertising now accounts for 26.8 percent of all media spend in Spain, compared to 40.3 percent for TV. Newspapers and magazines have been hardest hit by the rise of online. Print accounted for 35.6 percent of all advertising spend in 2006; that figure had dropped to less than half, to just 17.4 percent, by 2016.
Total media investment by advertisers in Spain was forecast to reach EUR5.323 billion in 2016, a 6.1 percent increase over 2015, and the third consecutive year of growth.