Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Research : British consumers average 43 hours a month online – 1 in every 12 waking minutes


  • Entertainment and social networks/blogs account for over one third of UK internet time
  • Digital ad spend up 17.5% to record six-month high of over £3 billion or £66 per person online
  • Mobile now accounts for 14% of total digital spend; 20% of digital display
  • Consumer goods overtakes entertainment/media as biggest mobile display advertiser

London, 7 October 2013: British consumers average 43 hours a month online – 1 in every 12 waking minutes¹ – and advertisers spent a record six-month figure of £3.04 billion to attract their attention, according to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) Digital Adspend report, conducted by PwC, with UKOM-approved comScore consumer data.

UKOM/comScore reveals that 22% of all UK internet time across computers, tablets and mobile phones is now spent enjoying entertainment online. Social networks and blogging now account for 12% of internet time or one in every seven minutes. Together, these activities account for over one third of Britons’ time online.

IAB/PwC data shows that advertising on the internet and mobile phones increased, like-for-like*, by 17.5% to £3.04 billion in the first half of 2013 – up £435 million from £2.61 billion in the first half of 2012. Over 46.1 million people are active online, according to UKOM/comScore, equating the £3.04 billion advertisers spend to about £66 per head of the online population over the six month period.

Mobile’s share of ad spend doubles in a year

Fuelled by smartphone ownership reaching over two-thirds (68%) of the UK population in June 2013², mobile advertising grew like-for-like by 127% to £429.2 million in the first half of 2013 from £188.1 million in the first half of 2012. Mobile now accounts for 14.1% of all digital advertising spend – nearly double the 7.2% for the same period last year.

As 4G networks begin to roll out, mobile video advertising grew sharply, up 1,260% from £1.7 million in the first half of 2012 to £23.0 million in the first half of 2013.

“Nothing illustrates the internet as an entertainment platform better than the fact that over one in five minutes online is accounted for by entertainment, and that advertisers spent almost 1,300% more on mobile video than a year ago,” says Tim Elkington, Director of Research & Strategy at the Internet Advertising Bureau. “With smartphone penetration crossing the two-thirds landmark and the successful roll out of 4G, 2013 could be the year when advertising spend on mobile crosses the £1 billion threshold.”

Consumer goods becomes biggest spender as mobile display hits the big time

Total mobile display advertising (including video) increased like-for-like by 195% to £150.5 million in the first half of 2013. Thus, mobile now accounts for 20.4% of total digital display advertising.

For the first time, consumer goods became the biggest spender on mobile display, almost doubling its share in a year – from 14.5% to 26.8% in the first half of 2013. It overtook the long-time number one category, entertainment & media, whose share stayed at 22.9%.

Driven by mobile display and video, the consumer goods sector extended its dominance over the finance sector as the biggest spender on digital display advertising, overall – accounting for 18.2% in the first half of 2013 compared to 15.8% a year earlier. Finance’s share dropped from 15.8% to 13.7%. Consumer good’s share has more than doubled in four years (from 8.1% in the first half of 2009).

Anna Bartz, Senior Manager at PwC, says: “The fact that consumer goods – such as food, clothing and jewellery – account for over one quarter of mobile display advertising shows how important brands regard smartphones as key to consumer buying behaviour. Mobile has moved on from being a communications or entertainment device to a bona fide retail one. It’s an interesting contrast to how dominant entertainment has become on ‘fixed’ devices such as computers and laptops.”

Digital advertising formats

Display advertising across the internet and mobile, boosted by video and social media, grew above the overall (17.5%) digital rate at 23.0% on a like-for-like basis to £737.9 million, representing a 24% share of digital ad spend in the first half of 2013.

Video advertising grew an impressive 86% year-on-year to £135.2 million. In the last three years, video ad spend has increased almost six-fold (487%). In the last year, video’s share of online and mobile display has grown 50% from 12% to 18% in the first half of 2013.

Social media advertising grew 53% to £242.5 million. In the last three years, social media spend has increased almost three-fold (285%).

Paid-for search marketing increased 18.9% on a like-for-like basis to £1.81 billion – a 59% share of digital ad spend. Within these figures, mobile search grew like-for-like by 101% to £271.0 million – accounting for 63% of mobile advertising.

Classifieds including recruitment, property and automotive listings, grew 6.6% like-for-like to £452.7 million – accounting for 15% of digital ad spend.

Tablets: among media owners who submitted revenue figures to the IAB and PwC, designated ad spend on tablets³ is estimated to be at least £10.5 million in the first half of 2013; up from at least £2.4 million in the first half of 2012.


First half of 2012 digital ad spend figures:

For historical comparison; in the first half of 2012, digital advertising grew, like-for-like, by 12.6% year-on-year to £2.61 billion, with a total advertising market share of 30%.


*Methodology for like-for-like reporting:

To provide the most accurate like-for-like growth rates, only companies that submitted in the first half of 2012 and the first half of 2013 have been included in year-on-year growth calculations.

¹Based on The Sleep Council’s “The Great British Bedtime Report” – average Briton sleeps 6h 35mins per night

²Source: comScore, MobiLens, UK, 3 month average ending June 2013

³Tablet-specific advertising only (i.e. not including internet advertising displayed on a tablet by default)

For more information:

Alex Burmaster, Meteor PR – T: 020 3544 3570 E:

Harriet Clarke, IAB UK – T: 0207 050 6957 E:

Caroline Underwood, PwC – T: 020 7212 3097 E:

David Jetuah, PwC – T: 020 7212 1812 E:

Leave a Comment