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Advertisers have their Christmas wishes answered with biggest ever Q4

Tuesday 18th December


CHRISTMAS IS COMING! A time of eating, drinking, loitering hopefully around the mistletoe and… working? Alas, yes. Many people could be forgiven for winding down in the run up to the Christmas Holidays, but not us in media! Like Santa himself, we’re hard at work, but instead of delivering presents, we’re delivering some smashing media campaigns!

Okay okay, we may have managed a *couple* of swift visits to the local, but we really have been busy. In fact, the UK ad market has seen a £6.4bn marketing frenzy in Q4 of this year. Not only is this £300m more than last year, but it’s the most ever spent during the Christmas period!

This is even more impressive as Q4 forecasts had been relatively muted due to, to put it lightly, some political uncertainly in Britain at the moment. So, where has this surge in spend come from? Let’s take a look…

Well, it’s due in a large part to an increase in digital media spend, which has shot up 12% to £2.5bn year-on-year. This demonstrates a steady increase in the share of advertising spend being allocated to digital (55%, up from 48% just two years ago).

The drivers for this increase in spend include search adverting and video advertising, which have both seen significant increases in spend since 2017. What’s particularly interesting, though, is the increase in mobile display advertising spend, which has increased a whopping 25% since Q4 of last year!

Although the increase in mobile display spend is significant, it’s hardly surprising. We’re spending more time on our mobiles than ever before (between 3-4 hours per day and checking them on average once every 8.6 minutes, according to the latest Ofcom research).  Admittedly, this information is hardly ground-breaking. After all, mobile use has been increasing steadily for a few years now. What is interesting, however, is the importance of mobile when it comes to our Christmas shopping.

Consumers are increasingly using mobile phones as their first port of call when it comes to shopping, and this has been extremely evident in the run up to Christmas 2018. In fact, the number of Brits using their smartphones to make purchases has increased a massive 44% compared to last year! With all of this being the case, is it any wonder agencies and brands are increasingly looking to up their visibility across mobile devices?

So, we’ve established that 2018 really has been the year of mobile (ahem) a massive year for mobile, but what about 2019? Well, the mobile onslaught looks set to continue, with eMarketer forecasting a further 16% increase in mobile ad spend next year.

Where will this growth come from, I hear you ask? Good question, and perhaps one to be covered in a future blog.


However, here are a few mobile trends which will take off in 2019

-Vertical Video: Look out for an increase in high-quality mobile video content being pushed out from the larger platforms, which in turn will give rise to an increased demand for vertical video content.

-AI breakthroughs: Advances in AI/Machine Learning will give rise to more advanced personal assistants (a great example being Lark, a fitness app with an AI personal coach), as well as more advanced AI targeting and optimisation for media campaigns.

-Tap to Go: Okay, this one is a bit more out there, but companies such as Amazon and Dutch international retailer Ahold Delhaize, are rolling our ‘Tap and Go’ supermarkets, in which shoppers scan an item, take it, and are automatically charged 10 minutes later. No checkouts, no queues, no cashiers. This new method of bricks and mortar shopping will no doubt give rise to new and innovative advertising opportunities.

-5G: It looks like 5G won’t actually be rolled out until 2020, but keep an eye out for publishers/sites/apps developing new, fancy, high impact formats and pricing options in preparation.

So, in summary, as an industry we’ve had a big Q4, especially in mobile, and with a slew of exciting updates and opportunities on the horizon the trends looks to continue in 2019! For now, though, let’s kick back, open another box of mince pies and raise a glass of mulled wine to 2018. See you in the New Year!



Advertising association and WARC

Ve Global



Article Written by

Gary King

Display Account Manager, Total Media

Gary works in the Total Media Display and Programmatic team where he delivers mobile led solutions for clients such as Kwiff, Epson, Carabao and Strutt & Parker. In his spare time, he’s into boxing, cycling, tech and gaming.

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