Digital advertising spend hits £5.4bn

Businesses spent more than £5.4bn on digital advertising in the UK last year as smartphones and tablet devices fuelled record annual growth.

The latest Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) digital ad spend report showed annual revenues increased 12.5% to £5.42bn last year – up £607 million on the previous 12 months.

However, mobile advertising showed the steepest rise in spending last year, rocketing from £203.2 million in 2011 to a staggering £526 million in 2012.

The £322.8 million increase in mobile ad spending accounted for almost a tenth (9.7%) of all digital spend last year, compared to just 1.1% three years ago.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of the British population owned a smartphone at the turn of the year, suggesting further potential for growth in this sector over the next 12 months.

Tim Elkington, director of research and strategy at the IAB, said: “Mobile has reached this milestone because marketers are becoming more attuned to the ‘always on’ nature of consumers who expect to engage with content wherever they are.

“Consequently, advertisers are increasingly buying integrated campaigns across online and mobile rather than regarding mobile as an afterthought.”