The Industry Reacts: UK Ad Spend Figures Q1 2017

UK ad spend grew by 1.3 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2017 to reach £5.3bn, driven by the impressive 36.2 per cent rise in mobile advertising. Despite growing for the 15th consecutive quarter and the addition of internet spend as a whole being up 10.1 per cent, the quarter represented the slowest overall growth rate since Q2 2013.

We reached out to a number of industry experts for their thoughts on the figures and what it means for UK advertising.

Money + calculatorJosh Krichefski, CEO, MediaCom UK
Clearly, it’s hugely positive news for the industry that internet ad spend grew by 10.1 per cent year-on-year but what’s particularly interesting is that mobile spend is up 36.2% in the same period. While it’s no surprise that mobile is popular, that is a huge uplift. Mobile is now an undoubted pillar of digital advertising – in a world where 71 per cent of UK adults now own a smartphone, mobile ads should allow brands to connect to their audience with truly tailored ads that appeal to the viewer and ultimately lead to them buying from, or at least being more aware of, that brand.

However, mobile must be done right. Modern audiences are a fast-paced, on the go generation that want to consume content on easily digestible formats. The key when developing a mobile campaign is to constantly remember that the reason consumers love mobile content is because it’s easy to access and view. Mobile ads can take advantage of that, but they must not hinder it – the audience experience is everything and if they see an ad “getting in the way” of content they are trying to view, all that mobile ad spend will be completely wasted.

Simon Kilby, group commercial director, Bauer Media
It’s great to see that despite economic uncertainty, UK ad spend has grown for a 15th consecutive quarter. Digital radio especially has had an explosive year and it’s not surprising that it has seen an uplift of 8.1 per cent, with real growth in the market. The rapid growth in mobile advertising (up 36.2 per cent year-on-year) is also a key driver for digital audio, with consumers logging in and listening to radio on the go. With exciting developments, such as voice activation and dynamic creative audio technology, there is plenty of opportunity for clients to take advantage of this growing and effective medium.

Scott Deutrom, chief digital revenue officer, ESI Media
In a difficult quarter for advertising, as a whole, digital ad income for national newsbrands has outperformed much of the market. This large uplift of 25.4 per cent shows the strength of trust advertisers continue to show in newsbrands, as they continue to demonstrate their brand safe environment for commercial partners. Mobile is driving much of the audience growth – on The Independent and The London Evening Standard, we are seeing over 70 per cent of our users accessing content via mobile – with clients able to exploit this to reach our significant and connected audiences at any point in the day.

Julia Smith, director of communications EMEA, Impact Radius
The significant story here is the strong growth of mobile ad spend this year. However, the industry is still waiting on this channel to show equally strong results in performance. All eyes will be on mobile to now deliver and prove itself as a channel that provides real revenue and more importantly real users.

Greg Grimmer, COO, Fetch
Despite the Brexit doom-mongers still predicting a falling off the cliff moment for ad expenditure, the latest Warc report shows that despite client and agency nervousness, growth is still possible, and not just from the dynamic duo of Google and Facebook. The report highlights the fact that digital ad expenditure is benefitting broadcaster and news brands, as well as the digital pure plays. I, personally, love the quirky fact that cinema ad expenditure is increasing. Arguably, the least interactive channel in the mix but a great media sold brilliantly by two strong teams.