UK digital ad spend grows 12.6% in first half of 2012

09 Oct 2012  |  Stuart Corke 

Despite the difficult UK economy, advertising on the internet and mobile phones increased, like-for-like*, by 12.6% to a record six-month high of £2.59 billion in the first half of 2012 - up by over £294 in the first half of 2011, according to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) advertising expenditure report, conducted by PwC.

The digital media mix share is consistent with 2011 with paid for search increasing from 58% to 59%. Display remains at 23% and Classified at 17%.

Display advertising across the internet and mobile grew at a slightly lesser rate than the overall growth level. Display increased by 10.6% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis to £590.9 million from £534.7 million.

Banners represent half of all display revenues (£294m) with banners in social making up 23% of display and online video 12%. Online video advertising increased 43% to £69.8 million and banners in social media environments increased 36% to £134.2 million.

The consumer goods (FMCG) sector has joined the finance sector as the biggest spender on digital display advertising - both accounting for almost 16% of display ad spend in the first half of 2012. FMCG's share has almost doubled in the last three years - from 9% in the first half of 2009.

The five top display sectors between January and June 2012 are completed by entertainment & media (13%), retail (11%) and travel & transport (10%).

Paid-for search marketing continues to grow and has doubled over the last five years to £1,527 million. Year-on-year, search increased 15.9% on a like-for-like basis.

Classifieds achieved their highest half year revenue but growth was behind the overall level for all digital ad spend.  Classifieds grew 7.2% like-for-like to £427.1 million.

Smartphone ownership is now 58%** of the UK population and mobile advertising grew, like-for-like, by 132% to £181.5 million in the first half of 2012. Mobile now accounts for 7% of all digital ad spend.

Search continues to command the lion share for mobile - growing 152% to £131.6 million - accounting for 72% of mobile ad spend, up from 67% share last year.

Amongst media owners who submitted revenue figures to the IAB and PwC, ad spend on tablets is estimated to be at least £2.4 million in the first half of 2012.

Tim Elkington, Director of Research & Strategy at the Internet Advertising Bureau, said: "There's still plenty of room for growth. Take mobile; 60% of the UK's 100 biggest advertisers still don't have a mobile-optimised website yet consumers spend almost 70% longer on sites which are. If all advertisers get wise to this, we're likely to see significant mobile growth for some time yet."

*To provide the most accurate like-for-like growth rates, only companies that submitted in H1 2011 and H1 2012 have been included in year-on-year growth calculations.

**Source: comScore, MobiLens, UK, 3 month average ending June 2012.

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