Thought Leadership

Whoa! Digital ad spend is up 12.5% in the UK this year

April 15, 2013
By Jay Stevens

Last week we saw a flurry of reports on the state of the UK online ad industry, with both the IAB and AOP releasing the latest in their regular series of updates on the market.

Of particular interest in the latest AOP Organisational Census is the top UK publishers’ focus around RTB, data and analytics.

Though the overall prediction of 15% growth in ad revenue this year looks conservative compared to the activity we’re seeing on our platform, all in all the report finds publishers in a bullish mood. A few points that really stand out include:

  • 68% are increasing investment in data management
  • Analytics is the top investment priority, closely followed by advertising operations
  • Despite the much discussed growth of paid content, advertising is still seen by some way as the top revenue stream for publishers, as cited by 56% of respondents to the survey
  • An almost equal number (45%) expect a greater involvement in RTB this year
  • The majority of publishers (52%) say they will make more use of private marketplaces in 2013, while a significant 33% will expose more first party data
  • 62% say they will increase headcount, with analysts one of the top three areas they expect to recruit. Ad sales roles are another of the top three areas cited for growth, suggesting the rise of programmatic trading is creating new and different sales roles within publishing businesses, rather than replacing them

The respondents from AOP’s membership represent around 700 digital brands, and a number of Rubicon Project partners.

Meanwhile, IAB’s latest digital ad spend report suggested that digital ad spend increased 12.5 per cent in 2012 year-on-year. The real story, however, was in the growth of mobile advertising in the UK, which passed £500m for the first time, growing 148 per cent on the previous year.

Representing a whopping 53 per cent of digital ad spend’s overall growth last year, mobile’s exponential growth is put into further context by IAB’s H1 report last year, which shows it only represented £180m in the first half of 2012.

The AOP’s report also points heavily to a mobile focus: as a top area for investment and source of revenues.

Of course, there are still teething problems in mobile, and it’s still nowhere near as big as it should be when you consider the amount of time and attention people spend on their phones (issues you’d barely think existed if you read some of the commentary on the report), all of this is just part of the reason we are focussing so heavily this year on the Mobile Project.

For an inkling of where we see this going, see our infographic on what agencies are expecting this year from mobile RTB.


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