UK digital ad spend up 15 per cent in H1 2022 – Digital Adspend report

UK digital ad spend grew by 15 per cent year-on-year in the first six months of 2022, with spend across the period totalling £12.52bn, according to IAB UK’s half yearly Digital Adspend update, produced with PwC and released today. This follows a year of exceptional growth in 2021, as the market bounced back from a challenging 2020. 

The turbulence of the past two years has impacted the UK’s digital ad market in extraordinary ways. While spend dipped by 5 per cent in the first six months of 2020, it then rebounded by 55 per cent in H1 2021. Today’s update is the first indication that the market is returning to a rate of growth in line with pre-pandemic levels, when the market expanded 15 per cent in both 2018 and 2019.

According to the latest data, Search continues to drive the majority of digital advertising spend, with the sector worth £6.66bn in H1 2022, up 16 per cent year-on-year and making up 53 per cent of the total digital ad market. Display has grown by 8 per cent, with spend on video display increasing by 6 per cent and non-video increasing by 10 per cent year-on-year.

Mobile continues to attract the majority of all spend (57 per cent) from a device perspective, but spend on non-mobile ads has grown significantly – up by 38 per cent year-on-year in H1 2022. Classified ads also saw strong growth, up 42 per cent year-on-year.

“It’s clear that market growth in 2022, so far, is more in-line with what we were seeing prior to 2020,” said IAB UK Chief Executive, Jon Mew. “The socio-economic turbulence of the pandemic supercharged growth in digital advertising – both video and search grew by 80 per cent across the past two years – and while it continues to grow beyond that, we knew that this growth rate could not be sustained in the long-term.

“Today’s results indicate that we have returned to a point where growth is strong, but more sustainable. Looking to the future, we have Christmas and the World Cup coming up, which will likely see spend peak in 2022, but digital advertising won’t be immune to tightening budgets as the cost-of-living crisis takes hold. Continuing to invest in marketing throughout challenging times is well documented, and digital has the benefit of offering advertisers a powerful combination of proven results and flexibility. “