AA/WARC: UK advertising spend reaches £23.6bn

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


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