The UK online ad sector grew a healthy 4.6% to £1.75 billion in the first half of this year. Figures out today from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the IAB confirmed online bucked the trend in the recession – with the rest of the advertising economy tumbling almost 17% over the same period. That’s consistent with growth rates about 20% above the total ad sector. Online advertising took 23.5% of all UK adspend in the first half of the year, extending its lead over other media and confirming it is now significantly larger than the television ad industry. The UK remains the most mature online advertising economy in the world with the highest market share of ad spend going online.
The mix of advertising spend grew in line with forecasts with paid-for search continued to grow (up 6.8% from the first half of 2008). As the purest form of direct response advertising, search is proving recession-friendly with marketers investing £1.05bn during the first six months of 2009 – around 60% of all online ad spend. Classifieds grew by 10.6% in real terms to £385m during the same period, accounting for just over a fifth (22%) of all spend. In contrast online display shrank by around 5% (5.2%) to £316.5m to 18.1% of all online adspend. The migration out of banners and MPU formats should be seen in the context of a much steeper fall in newspaper and television display advertising.