How Big is the Marketing Industry in the UK?
The UK advertising agency is one of the most lucrative and competitive markets in the world. In 2022, it is estimated that the UK spent a total of 39.4 billion pounds on advertising, making it one of the highest-spending countries in Europe.*
Table of contents:
Marketing in the UK – Key Insights
- In the UK, while brands leverage marketing to promote their products and services in an increasingly competitive landscape, marketing itself faces challenges in maintaining its relevance in companies’ business strategies.
- Data indicates that the marketing budgets of UK-based companies will not see a significant increase in 2023 compared to the previous year. The average growth rate is estimated at around five percent, which is lower than the UK’s inflation rate. In fact, there’s an indication that marketing’s share in budgets might decrease in 2023.
- Companies are reallocating their budgets to channels they perceive as offering a higher return on investment or are worth experimenting with. The most notable increases are expected in advanced TV, connected TV, social media, search, and digital out-of-home advertising.
- Conversely, the areas expected to see the most significant decreases are print and out-of-home media, as well as digital displays.
- The mean growth of marketing budgets in the UK for 2023 is projected to be 5%.
- The average share of marketing in company budgets in the UK for 2023 is estimated at 13%.
Trends and Challenges:
- One of the top marketing challenges in the UK is deploying brand as an enterprise-wide strategy.
- There’s a shift in the channels where companies are investing. Advanced TV, connected TV, and digital platforms like social media and search are seeing increased investments, while traditional channels like print are witnessing a decline.
This overview provides a snapshot of the current state and trends in the UK’s marketing industry. The industry is evolving, with digital channels gaining more prominence and traditional channels facing challenges. Companies are also becoming more strategic with their marketing investments, focusing on channels that offer better ROI.
An Overview of Traditional Advertising in the UK
Every year, brands and companies in the UK allocate billions of pounds to advertising with the aim of boosting awareness, strengthening their competitive position, and driving sales. The UK stands as the largest advertising market in Europe and is among the leading advertising markets globally. In 2022, the advertising expenditure in the UK reached 35 billion British pounds. This marked a significant recovery, with two consecutive years of robust growth following the downturn caused by the pandemic in 2020.
However, the growth hasn’t been uniform across all channels and formats. A digital revolution is currently reshaping the UK’s advertising landscape, but traditional mediums still hold significant value. For instance:
- Television Advertising: TV continues to be a dominant medium, with its net advertising revenue in the UK being 3.8 billion GBP in recent years.
- Direct Mail: This form of advertising saw an expenditure of 1.1 billion GBP, indicating its continued relevance in reaching specific target audiences.
- Radio Advertising: The revenue from radio advertising was 740.1 million GBP, showcasing the medium’s enduring appeal.
- Magazine Advertising: Magazines garnered 552.1 million GBP in ad revenue, reflecting the continued trust in print media for certain demographics.
- Cinema Advertising: With an expenditure of 229.3 million GBP, cinema advertising offers a unique environment for brands to engage audiences.
Despite the surge in digital advertising, traditional advertising mediums remain crucial in the UK’s advertising mix. They offer unique benefits, such as broad reach, tangible engagement, and a sense of authenticity that digital platforms often strive to emulate.
Popular Advertising and Media Types
Commercials aired during TV programmes captivate a wide audience with their visual and auditory elements, making them memorable and creative.
Audio commercials on national or local radio stations offer a localized reach and are cost-effective. Their frequent repetition ensures the message sticks.
Advertisements in newspapers, magazines, and brochures are tangible and can cater to specific demographics based on the publication, providing detailed insights.
Billboards and posters in high-traffic areas guarantee high visibility and repetitive exposure, targeting specific locations or commuter routes.
Ads on websites and search engines are highly targeted, with measurable outcomes, and can be adjusted in real-time for optimal results.
Social Media Advertising
Paid content on platforms like Facebook and Instagram allows for direct audience engagement, precise targeting, and interactive formats.
Collaborating with influencers to showcase products on their social channels offers authenticity and taps into their dedicated follower base.
Sharing valuable content attracts and retains an audience, building trust, improving search engine rankings, and guiding leads.
Direct promotional messages or newsletters to subscribers’ inboxes facilitate direct communication and can be tailored for better engagement.
Ads on mobile apps or via SMS reach users immediately, with options for location-based targeting due to personal device usage.
Commercials before movie screenings captivate an audience with high-quality visuals and sound, associating brands with premium content.
Direct Mail Advertising
Physical promotional materials sent to homes or businesses are tangible, personalized, and often remain with recipients longer than digital counterparts.
Audio commercials within podcast episodes reach an engaged audience, with hosts often reading ads, adding a touch of authenticity.
Sponsoring events or sports teams allows brands to engage directly with attendees and associate with positive experiences.
Ads that seamlessly blend with the platform’s content are non-intrusive and often result in higher engagement, even though they’re labeled as “sponsored”.
The Digital Advertising Market – An Overview
Online advertising, also known as online marketing, Internet advertising, digital advertising, or web advertising, is a method of marketing and advertising that utilises the Internet to promote products and services to audiences and platform users. This form of advertising encompasses various techniques including email marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, display advertising (like web banner advertising), and mobile advertising.
A significant aspect of online advertising is programmatic advertising, where ads are delivered across multiple websites, media services, and platforms through automated software systems. Typically, online advertising involves a publisher who integrates ads into its online content and an advertiser who provides the ads. There are also advertising agencies that help in generating and placing the ad copy, ad servers that deliver the ad and track statistics, and advertising affiliates who promote for the advertiser.
The revenue from Internet advertising has seen significant growth. For instance, in 2016, online advertising revenues in the US surpassed those of cable and broadcast television. By 2017, these revenues reached $83.0 billion, marking a 14% increase from the previous year. In 2019, the online advertising spend was estimated at $125.2 billion in the US, significantly higher than television ad spend.
However, online advertising has faced challenges.
Many users find it disruptive, leading to the rise of ad-blocking tools. This shift has impacted publishers’ revenue streams, prompting some to introduce content paywalls.
Historically, online advertising was limited in the early days of the Internet. But with the phasing out of commercial use bans on networks like NSFNet, the landscape began to change. The first notable instance of online advertising was via email in 1978. Over time, various forms of online ads emerged, including display ads, search ads, and more.
Today, the digital advertising landscape is vast and varied, with strategies ranging from display advertising, web banner ads, pop-ups, search engine marketing, social media marketing, mobile advertising, email advertising, and more. The industry has also seen the rise of programmatic advertising, where the sale and delivery of digital ads are automated.
The marketing industry in the UK is a significant and influential sector, with an estimated expenditure of 39.4 billion pounds on advertising in 2022. This positions the UK as one of the highest-spending countries in Europe on advertising, reflecting the industry’s size and competitiveness.
Despite a projected modest growth rate of 5% for marketing budgets in 2023, which is lower than the UK’s inflation rate, the industry is experiencing a shift in investment towards digital channels. Traditional advertising mediums like print are seeing a decrease, while advanced TV, connected TV, social media, search, and digital out-of-home advertising are attracting more investment.
The UK’s marketing industry is characterized by a blend of traditional and digital advertising, with television advertising still commanding a significant portion of the market at 3.8 billion GBP. However, the digital revolution is reshaping the landscape, with online advertising revenues in the US, for example, surpassing those of cable and broadcast television as early as 2016.
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