[caption id="attachment_48147" align="alignleft" width="300"] The growth of ad formats between H1 2013 and 2014. Click to see graph full size.[/caption]
Digital ad spend in the UK hit £3.46bn in the first half of 2014, according to a report from the IAB UK and PwC – an increase of 16.6 per cent year-on-year.
Mobile accounts for 20 per cent of that figure, up from 14 per cent last year.
Ad spend on mobile rose 68 per cent to £707.1m. While obviously a remarkable increase, this is actually the slowest growth mobile has seen since 2009, based on the IAB's figures from that year. This slowing is to be expected, however, as the market matures and as the figures involved get larger.
On the other end of the spectrum, tablet-dedicated advertising saw the largest growth of any channel with an increase of 160 per cent, though in terms of hard figures it still lags behind at £29m.
The largest share of spend on mobile is still display advertising, with £315.7m. £209.7m of this came from social media, where mobile makes up 53 per cent of all spend, and £63.9m from video ads – the single fastest growing ad format, up 196 per cent year-on-year.
The industry responds
"At a time when notable voices in the industry are questioning the sustainability of the ad funded content model, it’s interesting to see the sustained growth in digital advertising," says Nigel Gilbert, VP at ad tech firm AppNexus. "As an industry, we need to do more to address concerns around viewability, fraud and the effectiveness of digital advertising, but as the switch to programmatic accelerates this in the UK this year, the tools are emerging to better manage the scale and complexity of this cross screen world; bringing us one step closer to realising the true potential of digital advertising."
“It’s imperative now, more than ever, for brand marketers to consider the messages we are communicating and where and when those messages are being consumed," says Owen Sagness, Microsoft UK general manager for advertising and online. "In 2014, 'context is king' – it's vital to reach consumers where they are, on any screen, at any time, with the right message that encourages brand engagement. We are seeing the appetite for this continue to grow with native advertising accounting for 21 per cent of digital ad spend in the first half of 2014.
"By working together, publishers, agencies and brands can build experiences that mean consumers will want to interact, rather than switch off, and maintain this fantastic growth in digital advertising spend, opening up the doors to explore even more possibilities.”
"Increasingly, digital-savvy clients are realising you cannot just adapt a TV ad for online," says Erin Hudson, digital director at global media agency Carat. "The fact that three in 10 are watching TV, films or video clips with friends, and half with family, suggests a similar social dynamic to TV viewing but with even more potential when you consider the interactivity digital affords. Marketers need to be jumping on these opportunities to create, stand out and cut through."