The Advertising Association promotes the role and rights of responsible advertising and its value to people, society, businesses and the economy. We represent UK advertisers, agencies and brands on behalf of the entire industry, acting as the connection between industry professionals and the politicians and policy-makers.


The Advertising Association focuses on major industry and policy areas that have huge ramifications on UK advertising. This section contains our work around Brexit, HFSS and gambling advertising, data and e-privacy, trust, the digital charter and our Industrial Strategy campaigns.

Credos is the advertising industry’s independent think tank. It produces research, evidence and reports into the impact and effectiveness of and public and political response to advertising on behalf of UK advertisers in order to enable the industry to make informed decisions.

Front Foot is our industry’s member network of over 50 businesses across UK advertising. It aims to promote the role of responsible advertising and its value to people, society and the economy through a coalition of senior leaders from advertisers, agencies and media owners.

We run a number of events throughout the year, from our annual LEAD summit to the Media Business Course and regular breakfast briefings for our members. We are also the official UK representative for the world’s biggest festival of creativity – Cannes Lions.


/ January 30th 2020 / Ellie Mason
Advertising and the Economy

UK adspend rose 5.6% in Q3 2019

London, 30th January 2020: UK adspend rose 5.6% year-on-year to reach £5.97bn in Q3 2019, marking the UK advertising industry’s 25th consecutive quarter of market growth. The figures are contained within today’s Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report, which is unique in its collection of advertising spend data from across the entire media landscape.

The figures have been published on the day that the Advertising Association’s LEAD summit for the UK’s ad industry has taken place at the QEII Conference Centre in Central London.

The latest data reveal that growth in the third quarter of 2019 was 0.8 percentage points ahead of forecast. Looking ahead to the full-year figures for 2019, UK adspend is forecast to reach £24.8bn, meaning growth of 5.2%. This is expected to rise a further 5.2% in 2020 to reach £26.1bn.

Overall market growth is being driven by increased spend on online advertising, which saw percentage increases across every format. This was led by digital out of home which rose by 17.1%, TV broadcaster VOD which saw a rise of 16.7% and national online newsbrands which saw growth of 6.5%. The report also demonstrates particularly strong growth in Q3 2019 compared to the same quarter in 2018 in cinema advertising, which saw a very impressive rise of 46.5%.

The online figures reflect the Advertising Pays 7: UK Advertising’s Digital Revolution report from industry’s think tank, Credos. The report, which was published last year, revealed that Britain is the largest online advertising marketplace in Europe and that the country has the highest per capita online retail spend in the G20.

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association commented:

“UK media spend has continued to perform strongly in Q3 2019, now on the twenty-fifth straight quarter of growth. The figures show adspend increases across a range of media with digital formats and sectors continuing to drive growth. These media spend figures are particularly impressive given this was a period of Brexit and political uncertainty and very low overall economic growth. As the Credos report on UK digital advertising showed, this is in part fuelled by the exceptional growth in SME spend in digital, as well as larger advertisers continuing to move budgets into digital formats in most media sectors. The projected growth for 2020 shows these trends continuing. With Brexit now a certainty, industry’s focus now turns to the future relationship with the EU and the importance of this to the overall health of the economy, which underpins this media spend growth.

James McDonald, Data Editor at WARC commented:

“The UK’s ad market has sustained a 25-quarter period of expansion, but underlying data show that this growth is asymmetric – excluding online advertising, the UK’s ad market has contracted each quarter for the last four years. Online formats account for three in five pounds spent on advertising in the UK, and we expect this to rise to two in three by mid-2021, fuelling total market growth in tow.”

Full-year forecast summary 2018-2020 Adspend 2018 (£m) 2018 v 2017         (% change) Estimate 2019    (Year-on-year

% change)

Forecast 2020      (Year-on-year

% change)

Search 6,656 14.3% 12.1% 10.1%
Online display* 5,332 21.4% 12.6% 10.8%
TV 5,111 0.1% -0.5% 1.7%
of which VOD 391 29.4% 19.1% 14.5%
Direct mail 1,552 -8.7% -9.2% -5.2%
Online classified* 1,451 -1.3% 1.8% 2.3%
Out of home 1,209 5.7% 7.9% 4.9%
    of which digital 603 14.7% 14.0% 10.2%
National newsbrands 1,015 -2.7% -2.5% -3.3%
of which online 318 13.0% 5.1% 5.2%
Regional newsbrands 804 -9.3% -10.3% -5.4%
of which online 228 7.6% 4.6% 4.9%
Magazine brands 718 -7.5% -7.6% -3.9%
of which online 270 -0.3% -1.4% 3.7%
Radio 714 5.1% 0.6% 3.1%
of which online 45 30.6% 14.7% 22.5%
Cinema 254 -2.1% 24.6% -6.3%
TOTAL UK ADSPEND 23,563 6.2% 5.2% 5.2%
* Broadcaster VoD, digital revenues for newsbrands, magazine brands, and radio station websites are also included within online display and classified totals, so care should be taken to avoid double counting.

Source: AA/WARC Expenditure Report, January 2020


At-a-glance media summary Q3 2019 v Q3 2018
% change
Search 11.9%
Online display* 12.8%
TV -2.3%
of which VOD 16.7%
Direct mail -4.5%
Online classified* 2.1%
Out of home 9.8%
    of which digital 17.1%
National newsbrands 0.4%
of which online 6.5%
Regional newsbrands -11.7%
of which online 4.7%
Magazine brands -8.3%
of which online -3.4%
Radio -2.8%
of which online -0.1%
Cinema 46.5%
* Broadcaster VoD, digital revenues for newsbrands, magazine brands, and radio station websites are also included within online display and classified totals, so care should be taken to avoid double counting.

Source: AA/WARC Expenditure Report, January 2020

The full report and tables can be accessed through the WARC website for an annual subscription fee.

Related Articles View More