Ad spend on mobile display overtakes PC for first time

Oct 12, 2016

  • Overall 16.4% rise in digital spend is highest first half growth rate for two years
  • Mobile spend up 56.1%, the second consecutive year of more than 50% growth
  • Video the fastest growing ad format

Driven by mobile, digital advertising continues to prove its worth to advertisers who increased spend 16.4%¹ in the first half of 2016 to £4.78 billion – the highest first half growth rate for two years.

The PwC / Internet Advertising Bureau UK Digital Adspend report also shows the amount spent on mobile display ads (£802 million) overtook that of PC and tablet display (£762 million) for the first ever time.

Total mobile ad spend, including search and classifieds, increased by 56.1% in the first half of 2016. Consequently, 36p in every £1 spent on digital advertising now goes to mobile, up from 4p just five years ago.

Tim Elkington, IAB UK’s Chief Strategy Officer said:

“Mobile use today is more akin to a computer than merely a phone, as people increasingly rely on them as their information, entertainment and communications hub.

“People now spend more time on the internet on their mobile than they do on a computer. Consequently, companies devote more to mobile as they increasingly cotton on to the fact that people essentially carry an ad platform with them wherever they are.”

Accompanying online YouGov consumer data shows that 82% of smartphone owners check their phone within an hour of waking up, while 86% of 18-34s do so within half an hour. For 1 in 5 people, checking social media is the first thing they do on their smartphone, rising to 26% of 18-34s. The smartphone is now the primary source of news for 30% of people, rising to 42% among 25-34s.

Video, social and native are fastest-growing formats

Spend on video ads overall grew 67% to hit £474 million. Driven by rising video, TV and film viewing on smartphones, mobile video spend alone grew 129%. Consequently, video accounts for 30% of all display advertising but 37% of mobile display.

Outstream and in-read video ads (those appearing anywhere on the page, not before video content) saw a massive 440% rise and now account for 40% of video spend, whilst ‘traditional’ video ads (which play before, during or after an online video) grew 17%.

Ad spend on social media sites grew 43% to £745 million, meaning nearly half (48%) of display spend now goes on social. Social media spend on mobile alone grew 64%, so mobile now accounts for 80% of spend allocated to social.

Content and native advertising spend – which includes ‘advertorials’ and ads in social media news feeds – increased 29% to £451 million.

Consumer goods are biggest display advertisers

Consumer goods brands – such as food, toiletries and clothing – spent the most on display ads (e.g. banners and video), responsible for 18.3% of spend, followed by travel & transport (16.4%) and automotive (11.7%).

Driven by mobile, which grew 61%, paid-for search overall grew 18.1% to £2.49bn – a 52% share of digital ad spend. Classifieds, including recruitment, property and automotive listings, grew 3.6% to £699 million (15% share).

Dan Bunyan, Senior Manager at PwC, added:

“The phenomenal rise of mobile search reinforces the idea of mobile as the ever-present ad medium.

“It means advertisers no longer have to wait to target people at specific ‘touchpoints’ during the day. Instead they can deliver highly relevant, localised ads with unprecedented immediacy, such as reacting to people reaching a specific place, looking for a particular product or even the weather changing.”


Notes to editors


¹All growth rates unless stated are a like-for-like basis (except for social media, overall video advertising, outstream video advertising and content/native advertising), i.e. only companies that submitted in 2015 and 2016 have been included in year-on-year growth calculations

²Source: YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2011 adults. Survey was conducted online during 27-28th July, 2016. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

For more information:

Alex Burmaster, Meteor Public Relations - 020 3544 3570

Harriet Gale, IAB UK - 0207 050 6957

Stephen Young, PwC - 0207 213 3645

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