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UK internet ad spending at record £5bn

Last year, web advertising expenditures rose 14 per cent from a year earlier.

Internet advertising spending surged to a record £4.8bn in 2011 – up 14 per cent, or £687m, from a year earlier – a report out today by Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK reveals.

The advance in internet ad spending was led by a substantial increase in mobile device advertising, up 157 per cent to £203m, in part due to the overwhelming success of tablet sales last year.

Social media also saw large increases in advertising spending, with banner ad expenditure on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and other sites increasing 75 per cent to £240m. Such spending has increased eight times over since 2008.

Britons spent more than one quarter of their internet time – 27 per cent – on social networks last year.

Tim Elkington, IAB director of research and strategy, said in a statement:

Online and mobile advertising have experienced staggering growth since this study began in 1997. The 2011 results are full of breakthroughs for digital; with online display passing the £1bn barrier for the first time, proving that advertisers increasingly recognise the central role that online plays in their marketing campaigns.

Video advertising more than doubled last year to £109m, accounting for 10 per cent of all online display advertising.

Anna Bartz, strategy manager at PwC, said the 14 per cent overall growth is remarkable considering advertising growth across all UK media grew by less than 2 per cent in 2011. She said:

This year’s results reflect the continued appeal of digital media – on desktop, mobile or tablet – to advertisers for both brand advertising and direct response.

The number of UK mobile users accessing social media through their mobile devices continued its steady climb in 2011, with that number at 19m in the three months to January 2012, up 36 per cent from a year earlier.