The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Advertising Association Advertising Warc

Record ad growth in first half of 2017 driven by digital


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

October 31, 2017 | 3 min read

UK ad expenditure is up a record 3.7% to £10.8bn during the first half of 2017, largely driven by digital investment which represents more than half of spend across the industry.


Piccadilly Lights, a leading UK DOOH

This growth in the first half of 2017 is the highest recorded since the Advertising Association and WARC started to measure ad expenditure in1982,. This has led to a raised projection of 3.1% growth for the year, an estimated expenditure of £22bn.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive at the Advertising Association, said: “Spend on advertising is showing strong resilience, at a time of real uncertainty for UK business. We know advertising has a positive effect on the economy, with every pound spent generating six pounds of GDP, so it is good to see steady, sustained growth.

“The upgrade of our 2017 forecast by a further 1%, the equivalent of an additional investment of £190m, should be seen as a cautious indicator for continued growth in the UK economy.”

Digital, which is defined as internet and digital out of home (DOOH) works, made up 54% of all spend, racking up £5.8bn. Although there are industry concerns that Brexit could harm spend, the research records the 16th consecutive quarter of growth in the region. In the second quarter, mobile was up by 36.1% year on year, fueling an overall 13% growth in internet expenditure.

National and regional newsbrands exhibited 7.9% and 10.4% growth respectively across digital. In print however these mediums, along with magazines, suffered a decline.

Video on demand (VOD) rose 10.6%, taking some cash from TV that was down 4.4%. DOOH was up 30.4% and digital ads on radio grew 38.9%. Cinema and direct mail saw growth of 14.4% and 0.8% respectively.

James McDonald, senior data analyst at WARC, added that the figures show the importance of mobile to the industry, he shared: “Spend on mobile ads accounted for the entirety of internet growth during the second quarter of 2017 and 97% over the first six months of the year. As mobile usage and credit-fueled consumer spending continue to rise, investment in mobile advertising will track ahead of other platforms this year.”

Advertising Association Advertising Warc

More from Advertising Association

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +