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Advertisers spend record amounts online to attract the attention of UK consumers

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British consumers now spend one in every 12 waking minutes online, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) – and digital advertising has risen to record highs in recognition of the fact.

The latest IAB UK Digital Adspend report, conducted by PwC using consumer data from comScore, found advertisers spent £3.04bn attracting the attention of online shopper in the first half of 2013. That equates to some £66 per head of the online population during the six month period, and was 17.5% up on the same time last year, when £2.61bn was spent.

Mobile doubled its share of ad spend in a year that saw smartphone ownership reach 68% of the UK population. Keeping in step, mobile advertising rose by 127% to £429.2m from £188.1m last year. Mobile now accounts for 14.1% of all digital advertising spent, from 7.2% last year.

Mobile video advertising also very quickly, rising by 1,260% from £1.7m in the first half of 2012 to £23.0m in the first half of this year, a fact put down to the roll out of 4G networks.

“Nothing illustrates the internet as an entertainment platform better than the fact that over one in five minutes online is accounted for by entertainment, and that advertisers spent almost 1,300% more on mobile video than a year ago,” said Tim Elkington, director of research and strategy at the IAB. “With smartphone penetration crossing the two-thirds landmark and the successful roll out of 4G, 2013 could be the year when advertising spend on mobile crosses the £1bn threshold.”

Notable figures from the research also included the fact that consumer goods advertisers were the biggest spenders on mobile display, which now accounts for 20.4% of all digital display advertising.

Spending on tablet-specific advertising was estimated at £10.5m in the first half, up from £2.4m at the same time last year.

Anna Bartz, senior manager at PwC, said: “The fact that consumer goods – such as food, clothing and jewellery – account for over one quarter of mobile display advertising shows how important brands regard smartphones as key to consumer buying behaviour. Mobile has moved on from being a communications or entertainment device to a bona fide retail one. It’s an interesting contrast to how dominant entertainment has become on ‘fixed’ devices such as computers and laptops.”

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