2019 proved to be another record-breaking year for UK digital adspend, with total investment reaching £15.69bn.Investment was up by 15.4% on 2018 and accounts for over half of all adspend in the UK – demonstrating continued confidence in the power of digital to deliver business results.
Mobile continues to dominateAlmost all growth in 2019 is coming from smartphone, an increase of 1.86bn year-on-year accounting for a 26.7% increase.With an increased availability of data, brands creating mobile first, rich media, and the arrival of 5G we expect this trend of growth to continue.Search accounts for just over half of all online ad spendGrowth in paid for search accelerated 18% YoY, with 55% of all channel spend now on smartphone. The channel remains the largest in terms of investment, with spend doubling from 2015-19. The continued growth in search is largely thanks to its ability to drive sales and continued return on investment across the media network, as well as for our clients.Video formats are driving the highest growth in displayVideo investment continued in 2019 and remains a key driver of growth for the display channel. We saw a 34% uplift in spend in comparison to the previous year and outweighs the growth of banners and native (7% and 9% respectively).Mobile video also shows uplifts in investment, up 38% on 2018 with the other biggest lift coming from sponsored content – up 36% YoY.Social reaches a new milestoneSocial has now passed the £3bn milestone for the first time, accounting for 23% of all digital ad spend.Facebook continues to be the dominant player with its apps now used monthly by more than 3 billion people, with continued innovation planned for 2020 releasing Messenger Rooms, Facebook Gaming and video call expansion.What does 2020 have in store?The ad market was already feeling pressure from long-term Brexit uncertainty, but this has been hit further in the wake of Covid-19 with many budgets being drastically revised. Despite budgets being reduced now, the forecasts remain optimistic and suggest that we will start to see an uplift in H2 2020 and into 2021.Advertising remains crucial for both brands and consumers, and whilst this is a time for companies to re-evaluate their strategies and develop robust foundations upon which to build - digital is still keeping us connected, informed and entertained even throughout these turbulent times, and will continue to do so.Thomas du Luart, Account Director