Continued growth in digital channels and a strong fightback from TV are two of the factors in Britain welcoming an unprecedented rise in ad spend, says Group M. 

WPP’s global media buying arm has backed UK ad spend to reach £14.9 billion by the end of the year – a modest rise from the £14 billion recorded in 2013. 

Part of the nation’s ad spend success has been attributed to TV advertising “putting up a good fight”, according to Group M future director Adam Smith. Spend on linear TV ads is expected to account for 26% of the annual total despite ongoing concerns over measurability and the threat from online channels.

Growth in digital marketing has been tipped to continue, with Group M predicting the sector generate £8 billion in the UK alone. If realised, this would make Britain the very first nation to see digital represent half of all ad spend. 

Beating expectations?

Although Britain appears to be leading other nations in terms of digital ad spend as a percentage of total ad spend, a select few are doing a good job in playing catchup.

Sweden, for example, is expected to see digital representing 47% of its ad spend in 2015. Group M sees Denmark following closely behind on 43%, while Australia – a nation which is reported to have become more ROI-driven with its marketing – is showing strong offline to online migration on 42%. 

Fuelled by the demand for digital, Group M sees Britain recording a 5.7% increase in all ad spend next year as the total rises to £15.7 billion.

This is lower than the 7.8% year-on-year rise in ad spend during 2013 and could be evidence of growth in digital failing to offset the decline of other ad formats. 

Print media is expected to record £2.5 billion in ad revenue from this year but will see a 9% decline compared to 2013. In addition, Group M sees private debt and public austerity having some part to play in what could be a slightly muted period for the UK ad market.

TV in trouble

TV has been touted as another category to look out for as brands are forced to make tough decisions regarding their spend in one of the biggest ad channels worldwide.

The anticipated drop in audience figures will see overall spend on TV hit £3.9 billion in the UK – up 5.1% on last year, but signalling a decline on the 7.3% seen in 2013.

Growth in TV advertising will continue its downward spiral with an uptick of 3.2% next year.

Should this be the case, Group M sees evidence of companies flocking to richer, more trackable and targeted channels to host their messaging.