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Smartphone Video Fastest-Growing Ad Format of 2017 in UK, Finds IAB & PwC

Smartphone Video Fastest-Growing Ad Format of 2017 in UK, Finds IAB & PwC


Smartphone video spend has surged in the last year taking nearly half a billion from advertisers, while IAB suggests the opportunity remains rife as consumers become increasingly mobile-centric.

Smartphone video was the fastest-growing ad format of 2017, with advertisers spending £476 million more on the format, according to the latest Digital Adspend report by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK and PwC.

That figure accounted for a sizeable 69% increase on 2016 taking total spend on the format to £1.17 billion. Video ad spend overall - including phones, computers and tablets - increased 47% to £1.61 billion, meaning that nearly three-quarters (73%) of video spend now goes on smartphones.

When it comes to smartphone advertising spend itself, video was a key contributor to a year-on-year spend increase of 37.4% to £5.2 billion, which accounts for 45% of all digital ad spend (£11.55 billion), compared to just 9% five years ago.

Commenting on the results, the IAB’s chief digital officer, Tim Elkington, said rapid the spend increase comes as consumers spend more time online, “specifically on smartphones”.

“Digital has led to a change in consumer behaviour as people use their smartphone for a wider variety of things, be it listening to podcasts, learning a new skill or following stories on the likes of Snapchat and Instagram.”

“The ad community has responded to this change – particularly the growth of mobile and video – by developing dynamic ad products that fit seamlessly into their environment.”

Despite the punchy figures, however, Elkington believes there’s still “significant room” for smartphone video share to grow, as a result of accounting for 59% of users’ online time in the final quarter of 2017.

Podcast popularity

Accompanying online YouGov data produced specifically for the report revealed that in terms of online smartphone activities, listening to podcasts has seen the biggest increase among users, up by 30%, while viewing social media ‘stories’ (29%), reading news articles (24%) and learning new skills (22%) have also seen a rise in popularity.

Looking at other digital ad formats, the IAB UK and PwC found social media spend saw a considerable rise of 38%, reaching £2.39 billion, or one in every five pounds, while 83% of this was directed on smartphones.

Meanwhile, outstream video (up 94% to £900 million) overtook pre/post-roll (up 11% to £671 million) as the largest video format, and programmatic continued its ascent, accounting for 80% of the total £3.34 billion spent on display, up from 72% in 2016.

Other formats of note include in-feed advertising, which rose 9% to account for £950 million, paid search which increased 16% to £5.82 billion, while classified ads dipped 1%, totalling £1.47 billion.

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Mark  Jones

Mark Jones

Mark manages all aspects of editorial on PerformanceIN as the company's Head of Content, including reporting on the fast-paced world of digital marketing and curating the site’s network of expert industry contributions.

Going by the ethos that there is no 'jack-of-all-trades' in performance marketing, only experts within their field, Mark’s day-to-day aim is to provide an engaging platform for members to learn and question one another, helping to push the industry forward as a result.

Originally from Plymouth, Mark studied in Reading and London, eventually earning his Master's in Digital Journalism- before making his return to the West Country to join the PI team in Bristol.

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