Mobile to Account for a Third of UK Digital Ad Spend in 2015

Alex Spencer

Banner Ad 600pxAdvertising spend in the UK will pass £20bn for the first time in 2015, according to forecasts from Warc and the Advertising Association, driven primarily by a meteoric rise in mobile spend.

As previously reported in the IAB's figures, ad spend on mobile broke £1bn for the first time in 2013, accounting for 16.4 per cent of all digital ad spend in the UK.

In 2014, Warc forecasts that figure will grow 73 per cent, to £1.8bn – 25 per cent of all digital spend.

By 2015, it will grow a further 45.4 per cent, to £2.6bn. That's 32.7 per cent of digital ad spend, and a remarkable 5.8 per cent of the amount spent on advertising in the UK overall.

Over the same period, spend on desktop will remain largely static, with a yearly growth of less than one per cent.

“Another set of positive indicators to support the growth story – every pound spent on advertising returns six to GDP,”said Advertising Association CEO Tim Lefroy. “The forecast explosion in mobile advertising and digital formats points to UK advertising at the centre of a global revolution in consumer information, service and choice.”

Industry reaction

Pierre Naggar, managing director EMEA of marketing insights and analytics company Turn:

“As mobile ad spend continues to grow and more companies take up advertising on mobile, there will be increased competition to deliver a more personalised advertising experience to on-the-go consumers on the device they are engaging with at that moment. If they are to avoid being hit by rising ad costs, brands will need to look at the habits of their competitors by measuring trends in advertiser share of voice in order to realise the best opportunities to communicate with consumers – the impetus is on modern-day marketers to showcase ROI in new ways.

“Many marketers are making their digital advertising offerings more innovative and efficient, using programmatic, real-time systems and algorithms to automate data-driven, targeted communications with consumers. However, when millions of advertisers, both big and small, are contending for the attention of increasingly distracted consumers in this evolving advertising market, success will hinge on building digital advertising campaigns which deliver quality and relevant ads to your target audience as they move across screens.”

Cameron Hulett, executive director, EMEA, at digital advertising company Undertone:

"It comes as no surprise that mobile is growing so fast. The UK is an early adopter and brand advertisers have finally woken up to the benefits mobile can provide. This will speed up the much-needed change within agency structures, where they will move from having mobile-only planning and buying divisions to integrating mobile into all campaigns with a cross-screen approach."

Andrew Goode, chief operating officer at content verification firm Project Sunblock:

“It’s clear that brands are adapting to the digital age by funnelling more advertising spend onto mobile platforms, but putting more emphasis on mobile isn’t enough to ensure your ads have an impact. The fact is that advertisers still don’t have enough insight into where their ads are appearing online, let alone on mobile. As it stands, thousands of ad impressions are wasted every day because advertisers have no insight into where their display ads end up.

“Automated buying cycles have made tracking where digital ads are seen incredibly difficult and the same goes for mobile. With RTB, transactions are made in a matter of milliseconds, so unless advertisers have real-time insight into where their ads appear it is impossible to keep track, meaning that they can end up anywhere on the internet. This not only poses a significant risk to brand reputation, but also means that advertisers are wasting money on impressions that are either not seen at all, or are in entirely inappropriate places. Only the most proactive and forward-thinking digital strategies will succeed in the mobile landscape. So advertisers will need to adapt to this mobile trend by enhancing their ability to monitor their ads on multiple devices, ensuring that their ROI isn’t being hindered by wasting budget on ads that aren’t being seen.”