UK Digital Ad Spending Update Q2 2020

Digital Video Remains Resilient amid Steep Spending Declines

Executive Summary

The UK ad market has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. But while overall spend will decline, digital ad spending will see marginal growth, fueled by the resilient performance of digital display, particularly video.

What impact has the pandemic had on the UK ad market?

Q2 2020 was one of the most challenging quarters the advertising industry has ever witnessed. Even as some semblance of normalcy returns this year, the effects of the pandemic will be substantial. Traditional advertising has been hit particularly hard, with spend on TV, print, out-of-home (OOH) and radio set to drop by rates upward of 20% each. Digital spend will just about remain positive, with growth of 0.3%, but the overall ad market will slide into decline this year, falling by 7.5%.

How will different digital ad formats perform this year?

Digital’s marginal growth has been fueled largely by digital video spend, which we expect to reach £3.72 billion ($4.75 billion) in 2020, up 15.0% over the previous year. This year, video will account for more than half of the display spend total for the first time. Search, meanwhile, will slide into negative territory, dropping 3.2% to £6.77 billion ($8.64 billion).

How will the duopoly fare?

The fortunes of Facebook and Google are closely tied to display and search formats, respectively, and the varying performances of these formats have caused a slight rebalancing within the duopoly, with Facebook gaining on Google. Indeed, for the first time since we’ve been tracking the company, Google will see a decline in ad revenues this year.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report features the Q2 2020 update to our forecast for UK ad spending, including breakouts by media, format and company, taking into consideration the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

KEY STAT: Digital video spend will see a dip in its growth rate this year, but there will still be growth—of 15.0% in fact—a remarkable feat against a backdrop of declines in ad spend across most formats.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. A Tough Year for Advertising, Though Digital Spend Will Remain Marginally Positive
  3. Digital Stays Afloat Thanks to Digital Video Ad Spending
  1. Display Takes Pole Position as Search Stumbles
  2. A Shift in the Duopoly’s Fortunes
  3. Key Takeaways
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

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Bill Fisher


Monica Peart
Senior Director, Forecasting
Shelleen Shum
Director, Forecasting
Peter Vahle
Forecasting Analyst