IAB UK: Ad spend on mobile exceeds desktop for the first time

UK advertisers spent £13.44billion on digital advertising in 2018, a 15% year-on-year increase and for the first time, more on mobile than desktop according to the latest IAB UK /PwC Digital Adspend study. The latest figures show that advertising spend now better reflects consumer behaviour, with recent UKOM audience data showing that people spend two thirds of their online time on smartphone.

  • For the first time ever, ad spend on smartphones has exceeded desktop, accounting for 51% of the total spend, up from 45% in 2017. This is a year-on-year increase of £1.65bn.
  • Beyond mobile, an additional driver of growth continues to be video, which accounts for 44% of the total display market.
  • For the second year running, outstream has exceeded pre-roll video, accounting for 57% of all video advertising.
  • The figures also show that companies fully certified for the IAB UK Gold Standard outperformed the total display market, seeing a 30% year-on-year increase in ad spend revenue versus 22% overall.

Seeing mobile now account for over half of all digital ad spend is a significant milestone. In a decade of reporting these figures separately, we’ve seen spend rise from £38m in 2009 to a staggering £6.88bn in 2018.

Tim Elkington, Chief Digital Officer, IAB UK