Digital adspend in the UK dipped 5% in the first half of 2020, according to the latest IAB UK figures – this despite people spending significantly more time online during lockdown.

But a 5% decrease counts as a significant achievement in the context of the much greater declines seen in the total ad market and the wider economy during a period when the coronavirus-induced lockdown was at its strictest.

Within the digital advertising market, display grew slightly, up 0.3% to £2.84bn – representing a total year-on-year increase of £10m. And within display, video adspend was up 5.7% to £1.35bn, reflecting the growth of digital streaming during lockdown.

Investment in search ads fell rather more, by 3.7%, with revenue down £143m to £3.7bn compared to H1 2019. Meanwhile, spend on mobile devices dipped by just 1%, with spend totalling £3.85bn, and spend on classifieds decreased by £235m to £485m, a decline of 33% year-on-year.

While people may be spending more time online – Comscore data show time online hit record levels in April, up 22% year-on-year, while across the first half, time online was up 13% vs 2019 – the IAB UK figures show how marketers are directing their money more carefully.

“Where consumers go, brands follow,” said Philippa Snare, SVP EMEA, The Trade Desk, “and this is reflected in the number of marketers learning about and experimenting with new digital channels.”

She noted that many agencies are now including Connected TV as part of their omnichannel campaigns for the first time.

Mark Inskip, CEO UK & Ireland of Kantar's media division, also suggested that “the lift in [video] spend is reflective of the huge, highly engaged audiences that can now be reached”.

“To get the most out of tight ad budgets as we head into an uncertain winter, it is important for marketers to be aware of both macro and local consumer trends and the evolving commercial opportunities that can be leveraged, as many countries are entering different stages of lockdown,” he added.

Sourced from IAB UK