Growth of UK Mobile Ad Spend

Growth of UK Mobile Ad Spend

The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) has been working with PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) since 1997 to survey the value of the online advertising market. Their figures have become the industry standard for measuring advertising spend. 2008 was the first year that IAB and PwC surveyed the UK mobile market Ad spend.


The research found that in 2008 UK Mobile ad spent accounted for £28.6 Million. This was a year on year (YOY) growth by +99.2% (2008 vs 2007).

2008 UK mobile ad spend

IAB and PwC forecasted further growth in mobile advertising with decline in traditional media in 2008.

In 2009 things started getting interesting as even after UK’s GDP dives to – 6% YOY in Q2 2009, UK showed the fastest growth in smartphone market, with 24 % of the UK using smartphones was a YOY growth by +70% (2009 vs 2008). 2009 saw the biggest decline in overall ad spend since records began.
The research found that in 2009 UK Mobile ad spent accounted for £37.6 Million despite worst year on year record for advertising. This was a YOY growth by +32.2% (2009 vs 2008) (like for like).

2009 UK mobile ad spend

“Despite the tough economic climate in 2009, we have seen many brands spending on mobile for the first time indicating the growing importance of this channel in reaching a large engaged consumer audience with the right message in the right place and at the right time” – Ed Laws, Director, Yahoo! mobile marketplace, EMEA.
2009 gave a positive indications for 2010 and still plenty of room for growth.

In 2010 UK had a mobile revolution with smartphone growth by 58%. With more engaging adverts, Geo-Location and brands building their mobile strategies. Mobile ad spent in 2010 accounted for £83 Million. This was a YOY growth by +115.9% (2010 vs 2009) (like for like).

2010 UK mobile ad spend

Alex Kozloff (Mobile Manager, IAB UK) predicted that “2011 is the last chance brands have to do mobile before they are too late.”

With 5.5million mobile internet users in 2011 and 24% out of them buying via mobile, mobile advertising turned out to be an essential platform for marketing. Mobile ad spent in 2011 surpassing all the forecasted numbers accounted for £203.2 Million. This was a YOY growth by +157% (2011 vs 2010) (like for like).

2011 UK mobile ad spend

There is not much change in the breakdown (%) when we compare 2011 and 2010. Since 2010 advertisers have given more emphasis on mobile search adverts as 13.4% of paid search clicks came from mobile. Larry Page (CEO,Google, 13/10/11) said that “We’re also seeing a huge positive revenue impact from mobile, which has grown 2.5 times in the last 12 months to a run rate of over $2.5 billion.”

In 2012 UK’s Digital ad spend which includes Online, Mobile and Tablet all together accounted for £5.416bn which was an increase of £607m (+12%) YOY. Out of the total digital ad spend, Mobile ad spend was £526m, which was a YOY growth of 148% (2011 vs 2012 like for like)
The Total mobile ad spend (£526m) breakdown showed similar figures of that of 2011. This stability of breakdown suggest that the advertisers had found a formula for an effective mobile advertising campaign.

H1 – 2013:
In the first half of 2013 the total digital ad spend has reached £3.014bn, this is 17.5% increment compared to first half of 2012. Total mobile ad spend in H1 – 2012 was £188.1m. In H1 – 2013 it has already reached £429.2m which is a YOY growth of 127% (H1 – 2012 vs H1 – 2013)

2013 UK mobile ad spend

Mobile ad spend is now 14% of the total digital ad spend. It is predicted that Mobile to reach nearly £1 billion and 16.5% of digital ad spending this year in the UK. (Source)

The growth in mobile advertising spend in the UK shows no signs of abating, and should represent nearly one-quarter of display spending and more than one-fifth of search by 2014, according to estimates from media investment management firm GroupM. (Source)

Methodology used for this survey:

  • Display figures are not adjusted to account for organisations that have not participated
  • The display figures are drawn up on the basis of site declaration and have not been not verified
  • Search figures are estimated through modelling and industry estimates
  • Total advertising revenue is reported on a gross basis
  • Only media spend reported to ensure fair comparison to other media including display ads such as banners, pre/post roll and in game, in sms/mms and search ads
  • Figures do not include SMS / MMS production and delivery costs, and other mobile marketing revenues

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