Wednesday 24 April 2019 12:36 am

UK digital advertising spend jumps to £13bn as brands opt for smartphone ads

Digital advertising spend hit £13.4bn last year as smartphone adverts overtook desktop for the first time, new figures have revealed.

Data from digital advertising body IAB and PwC show UK ad spend jumped 15 per cent in 2018 amid a boom in digital formats.

Read more: Digital advertising firm Teads posts double-digit revenue rise

Ad spend on smartphones accounted for 51 per cent of the total spend, up from 45 per cent the previous year. This marks a year-on-year increase of £1.65bn, and is the first time smartphone advertising has exceeded desktop.

“Seeing mobile now account for over half of all digital ad spend is a significant milestone,” said Tim Elkington, chief digital officer at IAB.

“In a decade of reporting these figures separately, we’ve seen spend rise from £38m in 2009 to a staggering £6.88bn in 2018.”

The figures show video continues to be a driving force behind digital ad spend, accounting for 44 per cent of the total display market, while videos within text continue to be more popular than pre-roll ads appearing before videos.

The report reflects an ongoing shift to digital advertising, as brands move away from traditional media formats. Digital has enjoyed a boom in recent months, with out-of-home tipped as a key area for transformation.

Read more: UK digital advertising spend to grow to £15bn in 2019

A forecast by Barclays Corporate Banking, published last month, predicted UK digital ad spend will grow to more than £15bn in 2019.

However, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit continues to weigh on the industry, with analysts warning ad spend could fall if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.