UK ad industry to spend £12bn on digital in 2018, GroupM forecasts

Digital will take a 60 per cent share of UK ad investment in 2018, according to GroupM forecasts.

Digital ad spend is predicted to grow by 9.8 per cent year-on-year, to £11.9bn, driving an overall growth of 4.8 per cent across all media – the UK ad industry’s ninth successive year of growth.

The biggest area of digital is paid search, at a forecast £6.2m, with pureplay display making up the majority of the remaining spend with £4.2m.

Digital is by far the biggest growth area for UK ad spend, as many legacy channels are expected to see a drop, particularly print media – ad spend in national newspapers is expected to shrink by 8.3 per cent. Meanwhile TV, after enduring its first drop this year, is set to stabilise and remain static year-on-year.

“Advertising investment remains stable despite a fragile economy”, said Adam Smith, futures director at GroupM. “The focus of marketers remains relentlessly short-term and arguably underweighted relative to long-term brand building in broadcast media. This favours performance-oriented digital media which continue to be the most robust growth story despite concerns over measurement, transparency, brand safety and other issues”.

GroupM estimates that 75 per cent of the advertisers who ‘paused’ their YouTube spend after brand safety controversies earlier in the year have now returned to normal levels of spend on the platform. The remaining quarter have not entirely given up on YouTube, but are allocation a smaller share of budget, moving this investment into alternatives like VOD and addressable TV that they found effective.