Google and Facebook tighten their grip on UK digital ad market: report

Google and Facebook’s combined share of the UK digital advertising market will continue to grow, despite the companies recent problems with EU fines and data collection practices respectively, according to the latest forecast from eMarketer.

According to the forecast, Google and Facebook (including Instagram) will net a combined 68.5 per cent of the £14.56bn ($19.41bn) UK digital ad market this year. That’s higher than the 63.3 per cent the analyst projected in Q1. Based on the current forecast, the duopoly’s share will surpass 70 per cent by 2021.

“Despite economic uncertainty due to Brexit, Google’s and Facebook’s ad revenues continue to grow at the expense of smaller players,” said eMarketer forecasting director, Shelleen Shum. “When budgets are tight, advertisers tend to favour tried-and-true platforms that, on average, provide better measurement statistics and assurances against fraud.”

In 2019, Google’s net UK digital ad revenues will grow 10.0 per cent to reach £6.2bn. That will decrease its share of the UK digital ad market to 42.6 per cent this year, standing at 40.5 per cent by 2021. These figures are getting lower over time, but both are higher than what eMarketer predicted in Q1, when it estimated Google’s 2019 and 2020 shares at 38.8 per cent and 36.7 per cent, respectively.

“Even though Google’s share will decline slightly over time, there’s no sign that it will lose its dominance in the UK market in the foreseeable future,” Shum said. “Search remains a central, intuitive habit for all internet users, and Google still has that covered.”

The lion’s share (83.4 per cent) of Google’s revenues come from its search business. Google’s search will grow about 10 per cent this year, capturing a staggering 79.9 per cent of the UK search ad market.

Meanwhile, Google’s share of the worldwide digital ad market continues to rise. eMarketer forecasts it will grow to 32 per cent in 2019, up from 31.4 per cent last year. Google’s worldwide net digital ad revenues will total $105.33bn, surpassing $100bn for the first time.

Facebook’s net digital ad revenues will grow 25.6 per cent this year to reach £3.77bn ($5.03bn). As a result, its share of total digital ad spend will swell to 25.9 per cent, higher than the 24.5 per cent previously forecast. Unlike Google, Facebook’s share continues to grow; it will surpass 30 per cent of the UK digital ad market by 2021.

Facebook also commands an 86.7 per cent share of social network ad spending in the UK, far higher than that of any competitor. For reference, Twitter has a 4.7 per cent share, and Snapchat follows with 2.8 per cent.

Facebook ad revenues are derived entirely from display advertising. This year, it will capture 58.5 per cent of UK display ad spending, reaching 60.5 per cent next year.

eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness.

Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.