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Digital Props Up Ad Market in UK

By 2016, nearly half of ad spending in the UK will go to the web

As the UK’s financial troubles rumble on, their impact on the ad market persists. Yet the UK advertising industry is still doing better than many other sectors. In particular, digital advertising is thriving and boosting the overall ad outlook, according to a new eMarketer report, “UK Digital Advertising: Spending and Trends.”

Total media ad spending climbed by 1.8%, to $23.2 billion in 2011, eMarketer estimates. In 2012, the industry got a major shot in the arm from the London Olympics and the UEFA European football championships. eMarketer predicts spending on all measured media in the UK in 2012 will be just shy of $24 billion, a gain of 3.4% over the preceding year.

Meanwhile, spending on online and mobile platforms will rise by a substantial 14% in 2012, eMarketer predicts, to $8.8 billion. Digital ad spending is expected to pass $10.7 billion in 2014 and $12.4 billion in 2016.

The digital revolution has refreshed and propelled the ad industry when it might otherwise have hit the doldrums. As a result of the digital push among advertisers and marketers, most research firms have predicted growth of at least 10.3% in UK digital ad spending this year. eMarketer has projected 14% higher spending in 2012 and slightly lower growth (10%) in 2013.

These figures underline the increasingly vital role digital platforms play in advertisers’ strategies. Online and mobile ads will account for 36.7% of UK media spending in 2012, eMarketer predicts. By 2016, the web is expected to claim 45.1% of all ad spending in the country.

Paid search will continue to account for more than half of all digital ad spending throughout the forecast period, as massive increases in mobile search volume encourage marketers to invest there.

Display ad spending will also show steady gains, thanks partly to wider use of real-time bidding and video formats.

Finally, the mobile advertising frontier will post estimated growth of 120% in 2012. In 2016, mobile ad spending is expected to approach $3.5 billion.


The full report, “UK Digital Advertising: Spending and Trends,” also answers these key questions:

  • How much will UK advertisers spend on digital platforms in 2012?
  • How will spending on paid search, display and other digital ad formats develop in the UK during the next four years?
  • How might social networks change the dynamics of the UK’s digital ad market?
  • How much ad spending in the UK will be devoted to mobile between 2012 and 2016?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.


Check out today’s other articles, “Trends for 2013: Making Mobile-First a Priority” and “Reviews Turn Social Media into Gift Guides.”

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