Industry reacts: 2018 IAB UK & PwC Digital Ad Spend Study

Digital ad spend grew 15 per cent in 2018 to reach £13.44bn, with smartphones accounting for more spend than desktop for the first time ever, according to a report from IAB UK and PwC. On the back of that news, members of the industry provided us with some of their thoughts.

SmartphonesYves Schwarzbart, advertising industry relations manager at Google UK 
“Its good to see continued, double-digit growth in times where uncertainty over Brexit could easily affect advertising budgets. This is driven by the age-old understanding of being present where your customers spend their time and the results show exactly that. Were in a mobile-first world in which videos drive engagement and Im encouraged by the findings that digital ad spend increasingly aligns with consumer behaviour. 

“However, the real highlight for me from 2018 results is the value advertisers put on media owners and tech partners that lead the way in following best practice, such as through initiatives like the IAB UK Gold Standard. It pays tribute to the argument that doing good means good business. Given that the industry as a whole has made it its mission to start reversing the decline in advertising in 2019, this finding should give this worthy and necessary cause even greater momentum.”

Ruth Manielevitch, VP of global business development at Taptica
“The latest IAB digital ad spend study is a strong reflection on the power of digital advertising. Mobile has proven to be an invaluable part of consumers daily lives, so it is unsurprising that the platform now accounts for more than half of digital ad spend. However, it is video which is becoming the shining star – driving the majority of growth in the display format. With so much versatility, we can expect marketers to continue to innovate and create new video formats over the next couple of years, with it becoming a leading and highly effective way of reaching and engaging with consumers.”

Justin Taylor, UK MD at Teads
“In the IAB’s latest ‘Digital Ad Spend Study’ it is positive to see that outstream continues to dominate video spend, showing close to a 10 per year-on-year increase.

“Unsurprisingly, the study highlights that mobile is the most important distribution device (76 per cent of all video spend is on the smartphone), and it’s great to see the format we invented dominating that space.

“However, it’s now more pertinent than ever that clients and agencies invest their outstream budgets into professionally produced content and not social infeeds. Budgets must go where content is being produced rather than aggregators and distributors, where the content is read rather than where a click happened.

“We must remember how important local, national and vertical press are to the global digital ecosystem.  By unifying the best publishers at scale, delivering mobile optimised creativity and outcome orientated distribution we are fighting to ensure publishers are getting their fair share of revenue in comparison to the social platforms.”

Nick Welch, VP of business development for the UK & Northern Europe at ADmantX
“It is encouraging to see that there has been an increase in the net worth of the UK digital advertising market, but the question remains, who are the ‘real’ winners here?

“With many leading global brands having encountered brand safety breaches in the past couple of months, brands are increasingly cautious about running against negative content leading to the over-zealous and arguably inappropriate use of negative keywords as a protective measure. Indeed, we have seen as much as 30 per cent of a publishers’ inventory being unfairly blocked due to ‘brand safety misclassifications’ as a result of the over-use of negative keywords.

“In a digital world which is becoming increasingly plagued by trust issues, we need to help safeguard as well as encourage quality, independent journalism. Real brand protection is better for advertising, better for the media and – ultimately – better for the consumer and society at large.”

“It is promising to see that in 2018 overall UK digital ad spend increased by 15 per cent increase.

“Were seeing DOOH become a stronger part of the overall digital ecosystem, driven by the advancements in data and technology. In 2019 advertisers are seeing it as a truly complementary medium, one which can enhance their other digital channels. As the second fastest growing channel, we hope to see DOOH, and programmatic DOOH, included in future reports.”