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Smartphones drive online advertising spend to £11.6 billion

Video adverts fastest-growing online ad format, with companies spending 69 per cent more on them than in 2016

Smartphones have helped drive the amount spent on internet advertising to an all-time high of £11.55 billion in 2017 according to a new report from PWC and the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB).

The study revealed the total spend represented a 14.3 per cent increase on 2016. It also said the amount spent on smartphone adverts rose by 37.4 per cent or £1.41 billion. As a result, 45 per cent of all internet advertising spend went on smartphones – compared to just nine per cent five years ago.

The Digital Adspend study said 2017 saw a shift towards smartphones, with UK adults spending more time on their phones than on computers and tablets combined. Reflecting that shift, smartphones were the fastest-growing online advertising format, as companies spent £476 million more (an increase of 69 per cent) on them than in 2016.

“People are spending more time online and doing a wider variety of things, particularly on smartphones, be it learning a new skill, listening to podcasts or following stories on the likes of Snapchat and Instagram,” said the IAB’s chief digital officer Tim Elkington. 

“Digital is enhancing people’s lives, and the ad community is responding by developing new ad experiences that fit seamlessly into their environment, particularly within mobile and video.” 

Social media advertising also enjoyed strong growth in 2017, as spending rose 38 per cent to hit £2.39 billion, or one in every five pounds spent on internet advertising.