UK Online Ad Spend : Latest 2013 statistics released

Mobile and video formats show largest growth in expenditure


Recommended link: UK online advertising spend research – IAB

The IAB and PwC have published their regular survey of half-year figures for online advertising in 2013. We recommend using this annual research on online advertising to benchmark your investment in online media with other organisations in the UK.

This year, the survey includes comScore UKOM data and this consumer panel data was shared also – it gives an interesting view of how we spend our time online. Time spent in by consumers enjoying entertainment and social media is a great contrast to the predominance of paid search advertising spend, showing the difficulty of monetising these platforms .


The headlines for this research are:

  • Digital ad spend up 17.5% to record six-month high of over £3 billion or £66 per person online
  • Mobile advertising grew like-for-like by 127% to £429.2 million in the first half of 2013
  • Mobile now accounts for 14% of total digital spend; 20% of digital display

Percentage of overall ad spend on digital media advertising?

This research can be used to have an impact when discussing with colleagues how much a company should spend on digital media. Back in the 2011 IAB report it was reported that more than £1 in £4 of ad budgets were spent online  for the first time and online ad spend is now closer to 30% of all spend although the figures weren’t disclosed in the latest announcement.

We know many organisations spend significantly less than 25% of their communications budget on online media, but this may well be right for their market…

However with £3 in £4 still spent offline in traditional media like TV and print advertising it underlines the continued effectiveness of traditional media and the need to integrate these with online media.

Our summary of percentage spend on different ad formats for UK advertising budgets

2013 ad spendThe research shows the most popular online advertising tactics, but beware the methodology – spend on other digital marketing channels such as affiliate marketing, SEO, content marketing and online PR/Social media aren’t included – it’s pure media spend only..

This is the breakdown of different Internet advertising types:

  • Paid search advertising: Paid for sponsored listings such as AdWords  maintained their position as the largest single format with a 59% share of digital advertising. It’s higher for mobile at 63% of ad spend.
  • Display advertising: Display advertising accounted for 24% of spend, similar to previous years. But within this there were larger increases for social media advertising which grew 53% and video advertising which grew 86% year-on-year to account for 18% of online display budget.
  • Classifieds : Online classified ads important in recruitment and auto for example, but less relevant to other advertisers grew by 7.6% to account for 16% of spending.

If European figures are more relevant to you check the IAB Europe Adspend figures.  Display tends to account for a higher proportion of spend in Europe overall.

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