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Digital ad spend exceeds £1bn for the first time

UK advertisers invested an average of £1 in every £6 they spent on digital advertising in mobile last year as spend on mobile ads passed the £1 billion mark for the first time in 2013.

The annual report from the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that ad spend on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets almost doubled (93%) to £1.03bn last year, accounting for 16% of the digital ad market, up from 10% in 2012.

That is higher than the global figure, with the latest numbers from ZenithOptimedia showing that mobile ad spend accounted for 13% of the digital ad market worldwide, at $13.4bn worldwide. It predicts that by 2016 mobile will account for $45bn, or 28%, of digital ad spend.

The UK mobile figure was boosted by social media, which now accounts for almost a quarter (£221.8m) of mobile spend. Overall, social media advertising grew 71% to £588.4m.

Dan Bunyan, PwC manager, said: “Mobile’s huge rise is down to advertisers taking advantage of key developments in the way people use their mobile devices - particularly social media platforms. Mobile is now more of a story-telling tool for advertisers rather than just an information device.

“Almost half of mobile ad spend is accounted for by TVs biggest advertiser categories – consumer goods and entertainment brands – which is testament to how important mobile has become for brands.”

Tablets saw the biggest growth, with dedicated spend for the devices up 400% in 2013 compared to 2012. However, the report cautions that the industry “still has a lot of work to do” as tablet ad spend remains a “small part of the pie”

This despite the fact that more than a third of people (36%) access the internet via tablets and that among tablet owners, 57% describe it as their “go-to device”.

Overall, the digital ad market in the UK increased by 15% in 2013 to £6.3bn. Beyond mobile, video saw the biggest growth at 62%, ahead of display and paid-for search marketing on 18% and 14% respectively.

Globally, ZenithOptimedia estimates that internet ad spend accounted for nearly a quarter of the total market last year, with spend hitting $104.2bn.(Source: Marketing Week)

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