Digital drives overall UK advertising growth in 2018

The growth of digital channels such as search, online display, video on demand (VOD) and online radio meant that the UK advertising market grew by 6.3 per cent year-on-year despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

The report, by the Advertising Association and WARC, showed a traditional media flat or in decline as digital channels such as Google, Facebook and Instagram saw increased spend on their platforms.

Online display ads grew 21.4 per cent year on year and search platforms, used for paid search and content marketing grew 14.3 per cent although the growth is predicted to be weaker in 2019 and 2020.

TV growth inched up 0.1 per cent as advertisers moved their money into video on demand platforms, which grew 29.4 per cent.

Direct mail, which is still worth £1.5bn a year, declined by 8.5 per cent and is forecast to continue declining into 2020. Print media such as national and regional news and magazines also had a torrid time and fell 6.3 per cent, 9.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent year on year.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive at the Advertising Association commented, “These figures demonstrate, once again, the strength and resilience of the UK advertising industry during a time of political and economic uncertainty in the UK.”

James McDonald, managing editor at WARC commented, “The UK’s ad market expanded at its strongest rate since 2015 last year, and the growth is primarily being driven by rapidly rising investment in paid search and online display formats, particularly social media and online video.

“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.”

Ruth Manielevitch, VP of global business development at Taptica, said, “With more of us consuming content across multiple devices, it is great to see advertisers recognising the huge benefits of digital advertising in reaching the consumers in crucial moments. With trends in the mobile space continuing to evolve, were looking forward to seeing how these impact the growth of spend over the forthcoming months and well into 2020.”

See the full data on UK adspend below

Full-year forecast summary 2018-2020 Adspend 2018 (£m) 2018 vs 2017 (% change) Forecast 2019 (% change) Forecast 2020 (% change)
Search  6,656.0 14.3% 11.3% 9.9%
Online Display 5,331.7 21.4% 12.5% 10.2%
TV 5,111.4 0.1% 2.2% 3.4%
of which VOD 391.0 29.4% 26.3% 20.2%
Direct mail 1,555.4 -8.5% -8.2% -7.3%
Online classified 1,451.3 -1.3% -5.0% 4.3%
Out of home 1,209.1 5.7% 3.7% 4.2%
National newsbrands 970.6 -6.3% -3.3% -2.3%
of which online 274.1 -0.2% 9.4% 7.2%
Regional newsbrands 804.3 -9.3% -6.9% -4.7%
of which online 227.5 7.6% 4.3% 7.7%
Magazine brands 717.7 -7.5% -6.1% -4.3%
of which online 270.3 -0.3% 0.3% 1.2%
Radio brands  713.3 5.0% 4.1% 5.7%
of which online 45.4 30.6% 23.6% 21.0%
Cinema 253.6 -2.1% 5.6% 6.9%
Total UK Adspend 23,566.1 6.3% 4.8% 5.5%