UK mobile adspend surges

11 April 2013

LONDON: Mobile advertising expenditure in the UK rose by 148% in 2012, accounting for more than half of the overall increase in digital adspend recorded last year as a result.

Data from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB), the trade body, reveal that mobile adspend reached £526m last year, equivalent to 9.7% of total digital spending, compared to just 1.1% in 2009.

This increase has primarily been driven by a sharp rise in smartphone ownership, with 64% of the UK population now possessing such devices.

"Mobile has reached this milestone because marketers are becoming more attuned to the 'always on' nature of consumers who expect to engage with content wherever they are," explained Tim Elkington, director of research and strategy at the Internet Advertising Bureau.

"Consequently, advertisers are increasingly buying integrated campaigns across online and mobile rather than regarding mobile as an afterthought," he said.

Mobile search accounted for the bulk of spend in 2012 growing by 164% to £365m. Display advertising was up by 121% to £150m, with the remaining £11m taken by classifieds and SMS.

Within the display advertising sector, mobile video advertising grew by 1,601% from £0.8m in 2011 to £13m in 2012. This trend is expected to continue with the roll out of 4G broadband.

"4G mobile ultra-broadband is enabling a new era of richer content consumption with tablets predicted to outsell PCs in 2013," Elkington said. "This will help maintain mobile's significant momentum in attracting both consumer attention and advertising pounds."

Across the overall digital landscape, paid-for search marketing was the largest format, accounting for 58% of the total £5.42bn, followed by display with a 24% share and classifieds on 16%.

The FMCG sector was the biggest spender in the display sector, accounting for 16% of the total and overtaking the finance sector, which stood on 15%.


Separately, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's latest Bellwether Report, based on a survey of 300 companies, found that a net balance of 0.1% of firms boosted their ad budgets in Q1 2013.

Overall, 8.9% more companies boosted online budgets than cut back, standing at 1.8% for PR and 1.3% for market research. Main media spend, however, posted a total of –1.7% here, with sales promotion also off by 1.3%.

Data sourced from Internet Advertising Bureau; additional content by Warc staff