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IAB moves to quell ad blocking fears in latest adspend report

Digital advertising spend hit £4bn in the UK during the first half of the year, representing a 13.4 per cent rise, according to IAB figures with the trade body highlighting how display ad spend rocketed by over quarter (27.5 per cent) during the period, despite the media furore over ad blocking.

The IAB is keen to trumpet the fact that display adspend grew at more than twice the overall digital rate (27.5 per cent) to hit £1.31bn, representing almost a third (33 per cent) of all money spent on internet advertising.

This is compared to video ad spend which totalled £292m during the period (representing a growth rate of 56 per cent year-on-year), while spend on social media ad formats hit £574m, growing 51 per cent from 12 months earlier.

Separately, the amount of money spent on native content jumped 50 per cent from a year earlier to hit £574m, with the sum of revenue generated by tablet-specific ad formats totalling £68m, up 115 per cent from a year earlier.

Elsewhere, spend on paid-for search ads took the lion's share of the takings, which has historically been the case, with £2.07bn spent on such ad formats during the first six months of the year, with spend on mobile ad formats totalling £1.1bn, representing 51 per cent growth.

The latest figures were published today (8 October), a week ahead of the trade body's flagship Engage conference, in its Digital Adspend report, conducted by PwC, where ad blcoking will undoubtedly be raised on multiple occassions.

However, Tim Elkington, IAB CSO, is keen to put the recent media speculation into perspective.

“Recently, a lot of the attention on digital advertising has been around the challenges, such as ad blocking,” he said.

"However, it's clear to see the UK digital advertising industry is maintaining its strong revenue growth at a much greater rate than the overall economy. The fact remains, as consumers spend more time on connected devices, advertisers must increasingly direct their attention and budgets there.”

Despite the IAB phasing out parts of its mobile-specific activity, the trade body and auditing firm did highlight that spend on such formats accounts for 27 per cent of all digital advertising revenues, with Dan Bunyan, a senior manager at PwC, describing such formats as "the engine of digital growth".

He added: “However, there’s plenty of room to grow, as mobile accounts for 40 per cent of internet time but only 27 per cent of ad spend. Marketers are realising this is out-of-kilter, hence mobile is likely to continue gaining share at pace."

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