AA/WARC: UK advertising spend reaches £23.6bn

Posted on: Tuesday 30 April 2019

Following nine consecutive years of growth, UK ad spend hits £23.6 billion with online spend accounting for just over half of total spend

The latest AA/WARC report shows that total UK ad spend was up 6.3% year on year, marking the highest annual total since monitoring began in 1982.

Of this, £6.7 billion was invested in search and £5.3 billion was invested in online display – up 14.3% and 21.4% year on year respectively.

James McDonald, WARC’s Managing Editor, says that growth is primarily being driven by “rapidly rising investment in paid search and online display formats, particularly social media and online video”.

As he says: “These online components account for just over half of UK advertising spend today, and both are almost entirely data-driven, enabling advertisers to pair their messaging with internet users based on their digital footprint. These tools are also accessible, enabling a long-tail of SMEs to invest, and this has transformed the DNA of advertising in recent years.”

The positive story for online ad formats is reflected across a number of media – online radio ad formats are up by 30.6% year on year, broadcaster VoD by 29.4% and regional online newsbrands by 7.6%.

With total ad spend predicted to grow a further 4.8% this year and 5.5% in 2020, the Advertising Association’s CEO Stephen Woodford pointed out that “UK advertising looks set to deliver over a decade of continuous growth”.

The AA/WARC report follows IAB UK’s Adspend report, conducted with PwC, which was released last week. It reveals that the total UK digital advertising market is worth £13.44 billion (a 15% year on year increase), with ad spend on smartphones exceeding desktops for the first time. Find out more about the report here.

 AA/WARC Expenditure Report media breakdown


Related content

Digital set to account for 74.3% of UK ad spend in 2022

UK ad spend rose 28.3% in Q1 2022, outperforming AA/WARC’s April forecast, but inflationary pressures foreshadow a challenging market in 2023

Learn more
Euro symbols

AdEx: Digital ad spend in Europe grows by 30% in 2021

IAB Europe’s AdEx Benchmark Report reveals that the UK market recorded the strongest growth per capita, followed by Norway

Learn more

Digital’s share grows to 74% of UK advertising spend

Get a snapshot of the UK advertising market by media sector, using IAB UK/ PwC Adspend and AA / WARC expenditure data

Learn more
Cursor hovering over screen

AA/WARC: Digital drives growth as UK ad spend hits record £32bn

The UK ad market reached a record £31.9bn in 2021, equating to growth of 34.3% year-on-year, according to the full year 2021 Advertising Association/WARC...

Learn more

Why digital advertising works

Discover why digital advertising is effective for reaching your customers and building brands.