UK digital advertising hit record high in 2012

Record spend in 2012

A record £5.42 billion was spent on digital advertising in the UK in 2012, according to research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Total digital ad spend grew by £607m or 12.5 per cent year-on-year, with the biggest growth seen in mobile. Mobile ad spend soared by 148 per cent to £526m - surpassing half a billion pounds for the first time - with mobile search advertising accounting for 69 per cent of this total.

Mobile therefore makes up 10 per cent of total digital ad spend, whereas in 2009 it generated just 1 per cent of the total revenue.

Other areas that saw increased spend in 2012 included:

- Video advertising (£160m)

- Social media advertising (£328m)

- Sponsorship (£66m)

- In-game advertising (£23m)

- PPC search advertising (£3.17bn - making up 58 per cent of total ad spend)

Meanwhile, the sectors which invested the most in digital advertising were revealed to be consumer goods, finance, entertainment and media, retail and technology.

Why mobile matters

While total digital ad spend has increased gradually year by year, mobile's huge growth in the last three years has been remarkable. Tim Elkington, the IAB's Director of Research and Strategy, commented:

"Mobile has reached this milestone because marketers are becoming more attuned to the 'always on' nature of consumers who expect to engage with content wherever they are."

ComScore reported that smartphone ownership increased from 51 to 64 per cent of the adult UK population from January to December 2012. Usage and ad spend is also predicted to increase as the 4G rollout improves mobile browsing speeds.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: "It's astonishing how advertiser priorities have changed so much in just a few years, but clearly consumer habits should be reflected in ad spend. It seems this is the reason behind the huge boom in mobile advertising in 2012, and we would expect to see even further growth in 2013."