According to a new eMarketer digital report “UK Ad Spending: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates” the UK economy continues to struggle, whilst digital ad investments, including online and mobile formats, are growing robustly. Spending is expected to reach £6.1 billion (more than $9.68 billion) this year—a 12.0% increase from 2012—and grow by another 12.5% in 2014.
eMarketer expects expenditures on digital advertising to surpass £7 billion (over $11.11 billion) by 2015 and £8 billion (nearly $12.7 billion) by 2017.
Estimates for UK digital ad spending are close in line, with most figures ranging from $8.3 billion to $8.6 billion in 2012 and $9.2 billion to $9.7 billion in 2013. Projections from ZenithOptimedia are lower than other sources, primarily due to the exclusion of mobile advertising. Four of the five firms providing estimates for 2013, with the exclusion of ZenithOptimedia, expect UK digital ad spending to be over $9 billion.
The majority of research firms providing forecasts for UK digital ad spending growth in 2013 predict increases—and expect gains to continue on a steady trajectory.
Search remains the most popular digital ad format, though display is steadily gaining momentum among advertisers. eMarketer expects search spending in the UK to increase from more than £3.57 billion (around $5.67 billion) this year to nearly £4.46 billion (over $7.07 billion) in 2017. At the same time, display investments are projected to climb from almost £1.5 billion (about $2.38 billion) to more than £2.73 billion (around $4.34 billion), primarily driven by strong demand for video and real-time bidding.
Video’s share of the digital ad spending pie will grow dramatically, as marketers develop more advertising content for the expanding UK digital video audience. eMarketer projects that the number of internet users who watch video content online at least once per month will rise from 34.4 million to 40.0 million between 2013 and 2017. During that same time period, video will increase from 4.0% to 12.4% of digital ad investments in the UK and more than quadruple in ad dollars.
Mobile ad spending will help drive digital ad growth throughout the forecast period, with percentage gains of 90.0% expected for 2013. The UK has a solid mobile internet audience and strong smartphone and tablet adoption rates. Advertisers are investing in mobile search and display formats to engage the country’s increasingly multiscreen user base.
With ad investments totalling £999 million (nearly $1.58 billion), the UK is the world’s third-largest market for mobile ads. In 2013, only the US and Japan will outrank the UK in mobile ad spending.
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