UK mobile ad spend dips 1% while digital ad spend is down 5% in H1 2020

Anne Freer | October 16, 2020

Mobile Advertising

Total digital advertising spend in the UK dropped 5% during the first six months of the year – a reflection of the economic state induced by coronavirus lockdowns.

New data by the IAB UK and PwC shows that despite the dip, the digital ad market remains stable. Yet, the ad market in the UK is expected to drop by 15.6% in 2020 compared to 2019.

While display ads grew slightly by 0.3% to £2.84 billion, video ad spend was up a healthy 5.7% to £1.35 billion.

“The growth reflects the rise of video streaming during lockdowns,” said Jon Mew, CEO of IAB UK. “It’s not surprising that this year has seen the total digital advertising market contract as our industry deals with the upheaval and uncertainty of the pandemic. The data released today is hugely useful in understanding the health of the digital ad market as a whole and how different areas are faring – yet we know that this continues to be a hugely challenging time for many of our members and that the relatively small decline in digital ad spend at an industry-wide level won’t reflect the individual situations of all.”

Search ad investment dropped 3.7% during the first six months of 2020 with revenues down £143 million to £3.7 billion compared to H1 2019.

Mobile ad spend declines just 1% to £3.85 billion. 

“Yet there is cause for hope. Following 22 years of consecutive growth, the digital ad market went into this crisis in a position of strength and it’s great to see some areas of growth, despite the circumstances. Most importantly, digital advertising continues to drive results, build brands and offer unique creative solutions for advertisers looking to reach huge and engaged audiences.”

But the overall ad spend decline isn’t equal to the time users are spending online now. This surged during the pandemic as people were finding ways to entertain themselves and stay in touch with others.

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