UK ad spend figures 2017: The Industry Reacts

Today, the news emerged that digital ad spend managed to grow by 14.3 per cent to £11.55bn in 2017, according to the latest report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK and PwC.

45 per cent – or £5.2bn – of the this spend came on mobile, with the fastest-growing online ad format being video advertising on smartphones. Meanwhile, across smartphones, tablets and PCs, video also accounted for £5.2bn. This saw outstream video overtake pre/post-roll as the largest video format.

Here’s how a number of industry experts reacted to the digital ad spend figures and what it means for the UK advertising industry moving forward.

British moneyJustin Taylor, UK MD at Teads
“The latest stats from the IAB show that outstream has reached a watershed moment. It has overtaken pre-roll as the largest video format with a phenomenal 94 per cent increase year on year.

“This growth can be attributed to demand from advertisers for clean advertising in brand-safe, viewable environments following the scandals around user-generated content throughout 2017. Users have also got behind outstream – their engagement with the format shows it delivers a fantastic, non-intrusive experience, enhanced by creative and immersive elements such as 360-degree video and chatbots.

“At Teads, we have long held the view that in order to fund quality publishers and maintain a free and open web, more innovative digital advertising solutions and formats are needed. This is why we have been championing outstream ever since we created it seven years ago, to help publishers fund the quality journalism we all love.”

Craig Tuck, UK MD at RhythmOne
“This data proves that smartphone video is where the smart money is going in advertising in 2018. But it’s important to remember that not all inventory is equal.

“The growth of mobile, whilst incredibly promising for brands and the industry, will also, inevitably, attract new agents when it comes to duplicitous activity. As such, many of the techniques used to perpetuate fraud have migrated from desktop to mobile. In order to understand this constantly evolving threat, advertisers should be aware of the various methods used and how to better mitigate against them.

“Programmatic providers still have a huge job in ensuring fraudulent inventory is blocked so that this growing area of the market continues to provide real value to advertisers. We believe this can only be done with continued investment in elements like extensive block lists, SIVT scoring, and post-bid verification.”

Josh Krichefski, CEO at MediaCom
“The growth in digital ad spend, specifically on smartphones, comes as no surprise. When you look at the figures, it’s clear that mobile advertising offers brands an unparalleled opportunity to reach audiences with relevant and tailored ads. However, investing in a mobile-first strategy for the sake of it, or because your competitors are, isn’t the route to success.

“Building strong brand engagement through advertising relies on developing a creative, innovative campaign, regardless of the channel you’re using to communicate to consumers. Take Coca-Cola for example – its famous Christmas truck advert is still seen on TV today. But the brand has adapted to consumers’ demand for mobile viewing experiences by taking the idea and delivering it via Snapchat.”

Stuart Flint, Head of EMEA at Oath
“IAB UKs adspend results announcement reinforces that advertisers are now following consumer behaviour in the shift to mobile in video consumption. Mobile all-up is still showing huge growth. There is both huge opportunity and potential pitfalls for advertisers in this. We cant as an industry be lulled into thinking this growth means we can just keep on keeping on. We need to constantly invest in new formats and ways of connecting with consumers that brands can experiment with us to ensure were all engaging with them in the best way possible. How brands experiment with AR and mixed reality on mobile is one of the areas to watch and we’re likely to see the technology increase from a nominal 10% of marketing budgets as adoption grows.

“We’re seeing more of a shift towards ‘moments’ led marketing, understanding motivations behind certain interactions (using human and machine-led insight) and allow brands to build their campaigns around which motivations are most likely to see the best response to different messages, in different contexts, at different times.

“The growth of mobile also means that there will be new battles to fight when it comes to fraud. Transparency is key and brands need to be assured that they have the right partner in place that ensures they keep up with the new ways bad actors will find to serve bad ads.”