LONDON: Print has seen an unexpected rise in advertising spend, while the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report also finds that total UK adspend grew 5.9% to £5.7bn in Q1 2018, 1.3 percentage points (pp) ahead of forecast.

Despite the uncertainty in the UK business community over the possible outcomes of Brexit, companies appear bullish on the effect of advertising, leading to the AA/WARC updating its forecasts for this year and next (up 0.6pp to 4.8% and 0.7pp to 4.5% respectively).

The report, which gathers data from across the media landscape rather than relying solely on modelling, found that advertising spend was growing at twice the rate of UK GDP.

Income from print display ads in national newsbrands grew for the first time in over seven years, up 1.0% to £153m. The uptick was observed among popular titles, where print display revenue rose 2.8% – the format recorded a 0.3% dip among quality titles, though this still marked their best result in six years.

The most compelling theme across the results, however, was that digital is bringing new power to legacy media. Radio overall showed strong growth of 12.5% year-on-year – its best in four years. Looking at digital ad formats illuminates the greater shift: spend on digital formats was up 39.3% year-on-year.

TV also posted relatively healthy growth of 5.0% overall, but it was broadcaster VoD that saw greater growth with an 11.9% year-on-year increase.

Total internet spend rose 10.8% to £3.1bn with search accounting for over half of this and almost three in every ten pounds spent on advertising in the UK. 

“Online ad formats – particularly search and social media – continue to over perform, but traditional media are also proving their worth to advertisers”, said James McDonald, WARC’s Data Editor. “Notable among these are radio, TV, out of home and national newsbrands, with the latter carrying on from a good final quarter in 2017 to reverse a seven year downturn in display revenue.”

Commenting on the quarterly figures, the strongest in three years, Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association said the report reflected the resilience of the UK economy, adding that investment in advertising is not only good for company profits but also for the country.

“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”, he predicts.

Sourced from the Advertising Association/WARC