UK ad spend exceeds expectations in reaching £5.7bn for first quarter of 2018

Pound notesUK ad spend rose 5.9 per cent year-on-year, reaching £5.7bn, in Q1 2018 – with display advertising accounting for nearly two-thirds of the entire spend.

According to the latest expenditure report from the Advertising Association and Warc, UK ad spend enjoyed its 19th consecutive quarter of growth and Q1 2018 was the strongest first quarter in three years, finishing 1.3 percentage points ahead of forecast.

“UK advertising continues to show steady growth with more businesses investing more spend in advertising. This investment boosts company profits and overall GDP, creates more jobs and helps our media sector to continue to invest in the creative content and technology that the public values,” said Stephen Woodford, chief executive at the Advertising Association.

“If Government can secure a good outcome from the Brexit negotiations and introduce a business-friendly immigration policy, we should continue to see sustained UK market growth and continued export success for advertising.”

Looking at the specific factors driving ad spend, display formats recorded a 4.7 per cent rise in investment in the quarter – with spend increasing six per cent, if direct mail is excluded. In addition, search now accounts for almost three in every £10 spent, a rise of 1.8 percentage points over the last year.

On the back of the results, ad spend is expected to grow by 4.8 per cent across the entire year and 4.5 per cent next year. If this comes to fruition, investment will come in at over £24bn in 2019.

“The UK’s advertising market has now grown ahead of expectations in each of the last four quarters, and our projection for 2018 growth has been upgraded by a two percentage points since the start of the year on the back of sterling results across the media landscape,” said James McDonald, data editor at Warc.