LONDON: UK advertising expenditure hit a record £22.2bn in 2017, with spending exceeding £6bn in the final quarter of the year, according to the Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report, the definitive measure of advertising activity in the UK.

The Expenditure Report, which is the only source that uses verified advertising revenue figures gathered from across the entire media landscape, rather than relying solely on estimated or modelled data, put annual growth at 4.6% in 2017 and forecast continued growth of 4.2% in 2018 and 3.8% in 2019.

“To see adspend hit the £6bn mark in Q4 is a very encouraging result, as is the prediction that we will see ten years of continued growth through 2019,” said Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive at the Advertising Association, as he welcomed this demonstration of “the strength and resilience of the UK advertising industry”.

He added that maintaining such success would be “reliant on getting the right deal from Brexit for our industry and ensuring we have access to the best talent to ensure British advertising remains a global powerhouse”.

Adspend growth continues to be driven by internet (up 14.3% over the year to £11.6bn), which includes digital revenues for newsbrands, magazine brands, TV and radio broadcasters. Within this, spend on mobile formats (+37.3% to £5.2bn) was particularly strong during 2017.

James McDonald, Data Editor at WARC, noted how mobile continued to underpin growth – “over 90% of additional mobile investment was directed towards search and social media in 2017,” he reported.

Other digital formats performed well during 2017, with spending up 26.3% on radio station websites, 22.9% for digital out of home, 19.3% for online national newsbrands, 9.9% for online regional newsbrands and 7.1% for broadcaster video-on-demand. Digital revenues for magazine brands were, however, down 4.0% year-on-year. 

National newsbrands recorded their strongest performance since 2010 during the last three months of 2017, with ad revenues down by just 0.8%, but this ultimately contributed to a dip of 5.6% for the sector as a whole last year.

Other traditional media fared better, with McDonald observing “vitality across the wider industry” as radio (+5.2%) and cinema (+3.3%) both recorded their fourth successive year of rising spend, while the out of home market (+1.5%) expanded for the eighth year running.

Overall TV spending was down 3.2% in 2017 to £5.1bn, although McDonald described this as “anomalous” and highlighted reduced spending within the consumable goods category last year.

“We expect the channel to rebound this year thanks in part to the summer’s World Cup,” he added.

Sourced from AA/WARC Expenditure Report