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UK mobile ad spending to pass £2bn this year and overtake print in 2015

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Mobile ad spending in the UK continues to show significant growth and is expected to rise 96.0% this year to just over £2 billion ($3.16 billion), up from more than £1.03 billion ($1.61 billion) in 2013, according to eMarketer’s latest UK media ad spending estimates. By 2018, eMarketer expects mobile to claim almost 40% of total paid media spending in the UK.

Mobile will account for 13.4% of total media spending this year, compared with 13.6% for newspapers. In 2015, mobile will surpass print’s total, at 20.5% of all spending vs. 17.0%.

Continued robust growth in the mobile channel is driving the bulk of digital ad growth in the UK. The dramatic growth of mobile and video ad expenditures will boost digital ad spending throughout the forecast period. More than half of all digital ad dollars will go toward search formats, while spending on display formats will amount to one-third of the UK’s digital ad market. Display revenues from Google, Facebook and Twitter-three of the UK’s largest display ad publishers-are each expected to rise significantly in the coming years.

In addition, eMarketer estimates that mobile will account for nearly 30% of all digital ad spending this year, with this figure rising to more than half by 2016.

In 2013, spending on digital ad formats (including all paid media spending for ads served to any internet-connected device) rose 16.3% to top £6.3 billion ($9.84 billion). This year, digital ad spending growth will slow to 15.0%, and by 2015, digital will be up just 10.0%. But that’s still much faster growth than that for total media ad spending, which will increase by 6.6% this year to around £15.11 billion ($23.61 billion).

Digital will account for half of all paid media ad spending in the UK next year, according to eMarketer’s forecast.

A strong economy, high consumer confidence and increases in spending on digital, TV, radio and outdoor formats will spur what growth there is in total media ad spending. Increased ad outlays for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup soccer tournament will also support this year’s growth uptick. While digital, and especially mobile, are boosting total growth, other channels are flat or even losing ad revenues. Spending on TV and outdoor ad formats will rise at a much slower pace, while radio ad outlays will remain relatively flat. Print ad expenditures will continue to decline as advertisers shift their budgets to digital formats. Between 2014 and 2018, magazines and newspapers will lose a combined £276 million ($431.3 million) in advertiser spending.

Martin Pugh, CEO of incentivised video advertising platform, Adpoints, comments: “There’s no denying it, mobile is allowing advertisers to reach more and more people whilst they go about their everyday lives and its big business. But, although more people are being reached, there is no guarantee that they are engaging with the ads. Ad avoidance is a growing problem and one that the UK advertising industry needs to address.

“People are becoming increasingly jaded by the continuous bombardment with advertising messages and they consider their time as highly valuable. In a world where instant gratification is rife, more and more consumers are avoiding ads by using adblockers, buying apps to avoid ads, and time shifting through adverts on TV to get to the content they want. There’s no doubt that the advertising industry is at its peak and content is more creative, but to engage the audience and improve ROI on ad spend, an equal balance between advertisers and consumers needs to be found.”

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