Digital Adspend Study reveals UK Advertisers spent £13.4bn in 2018

Date posted: 24 Feb 2019

Posted by: Sarah Coften

Post category: Insights

Sarah Coften, Digital Director at Smithfield attended the IAB annual announcement of the Digital Adspend Study, which measures the size of the digital advertising marketing in the UK and is published by IAB UK and PwC.

Here’s a round-up of the facts and the consumer habits and behaviours driving the changes in spend among advertisers.

Brexit anxiety and concerns about consumer confidence in advertising failed to stop UK advertisers spending a record £13.4bn on digital advertising last year – a 15% jump on 2017.

And in a first for the UK advertising industry, smartphones has surpassed desktop spend to account for 51% of all media budgets in 2018, up from 45% in 2017.  In total, advertisers spent £6.9bn on smartphone ads, up 2017’s £5.2bn.

Marrying ad revenue data from 64 participants with additional data from Warc, the 2018 study reflects a continuing confidence in the digital advertising industry.

This shift in spending is in part due to consumers becoming more confident in using mobile devices to complete financial transactions. It’s a real turning point for the ad industry.

In the display ad sector, spend increased 22% year on year climbing to £5.2bn, accelerating faster than paid search at 14 per cent growth and overtaking digital classified budgets which dropped one per cent to 1.45bn.

The report also highlighted video as another driver of digital ad spend and accounted for 44% of the total display market at £2.31bn, which Smithfield believes can be attributed to better quality screens coupled with faster WiFi and 4G connectivity meaning users are spending more time consuming more video content on their phones.

With 76% of all video spend now on the smartphone at £1.75bn (up from £1.2bn the previous year), the report highlighted that 57% of video budgets are now invested in outstream or social media platforms, beating pre roll spend.

When it comes to social ad spend, revenue is now £3.04bn, accounting for 23% of all digital spend, up 27% year-on-year, with 80% of all social spend again on smartphone.

Adam Shoefield, founder of Smithfield Agency says “The report is great news and clear evidence of the robust state of the ad industry.  It also shows that advertisers are listening to where media is being consumed. And the rise of video is a direct indication of the power of TV / Video creative to shift consumer behaviour.”

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