UK internet users spend an average of one-in-seven minutes online accessing their social networks, with social ad budgets increasing 53% in the last year helping lift total online ad spend past £3 billion.
According to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau, working with PricewaterhouseCoopers, UK audiences spend an average of 43 hours a month online with 'entertainment' and 'social networking' accounting for over one third of this time.
Total digital ad spend increased 17.5% in the six months to June 30 to hit £3.04bn – up £435m from £2.61bn in the first half of 2012, with the amount spent on social media ad formats reaching £242.5m during the period.
The trade body also accredited mobile advertising as one of the chief accelerants for the overall growth, due to increased uptake of smartphones as well as tablet devices, as well as the debut of 4G networks in the UK.
Total UK ad spend on such devices hit £429.2m – an annual increase of 127% – and accounted for 14.1% of all spend during the six month period.
However, the study also notes a 1,260% increase in mobile video ad spend – a leap accredited to the debut of super-fast 4G networks last October – which totalled £23m in the first half of 2013, compared to just £1.7m a year earlier.
Tim Elkington, IAB’s director of research and strategy, said: “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 £1bn threshold.”
Total mobile display ad spend, including video, increased like-for-like by 195% cent to £150.5m in the first half of 2013, according to the figures. This means mobile now accounts for 20.4 per cent of total digital display budgets which hit £737.9m in the first half of 2013, and represents a 24 per cent share of total digital ad spend.
Meanwhile, the market for social media advertising grew 53 per cent to hit £242.5m during the period, while paid-for search marketing continues to generate the lion’s share (59 per cent) of all paid-for online marketing, with total spend on such formats hitting £1.81bn – an increase of 18.9% annually.
Within these figures, mobile search grew like-for-like by 101% to £271m – accounting for 63% of mobile advertising.