UK digital advertising market up 15%, now worth £6.4bn

Written by Phil Birss: Group CEO.
· 4 minute read

The IAB’s latest UK digital advertising spend figures, conducted by PwC, have revealed that the total UK digital advertising market is now worth £6.4bn, which is an increase of 15% year on year.

Broken down into different ad formats, search is up 15% year on year and is currently worth £3.3bn. Display is worth £2.3bn, which is a 20% increase, and is thought to be largely driven by video growth. As spend on video continues to increase, most of it is being spent on smartphones which is indicative of consumer habits.

These latest figures mean that search has more than tripled over the last 10 years increasing from £958 million back in 2008 to £3.3 billion in the first quarter of 2018.

It’s actually no surprise that the report showed UK digital advertising is on the rise. The Guardian now earns more money from its digital operations than from its print newspapers and back in April, emarketer predicted that by 2020, social media ad spend would account for almost 30% of UK spend.

Additionally, towards the end of 2017, the Drum reported that video was “the fastest-growing ad format.”

Digital Marketing Manager at Run2, Jo Seward, highlights the importance of these figures to marketers:

“The rise in ad spend on mobile devices, through engaging mediums such as video, is a great indication as to where businesses should be focusing their marketing efforts. Ensure your website’s mobile experience is up to scratch before you invest, and think outside the box in terms of the types of content that your audience will respond to.”

Over the years, the process of creating, targeting, optimising and measuring ads has been massively streamlined by platforms themselves, which industry forecaster Zenith believes has helped to grow ad spend. Just this year for example, Google released a range of machine learning-based ad tools which helped to optimise ad creative and placement based on the browsing habits on users across its search engine and YouTube.

Zenith also predicts that search platforms will eventually incorporate voice with paid search, realising further potential.

The IAB will release Full Year 2018 figures in April 2019 which will provide an in-depth breakout of the digital advertising landscape.