This week, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) published the latest figures about digital media spend in the UK. This research, published by the IAB in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Advertising Research Centre, shows that the internet has now overtaken TV advertising to become the UK's single biggest advertising medium.
In the first half of 2009 internet advertising weathered the recession and grew by 4.6% to £1,752.1m, despite the entire advertising sector contracting by 16.6% during the same period. The UK remains the world leader in terms of market share for online, with the medium accounting for 23.5% in the first half of 2009. The results signal a significant restructure of marketing budgets as advertisers follow their audiences online and look to the internet for even more measureable and accountable methods.
The full details of the research can be found on the IAB website, but it is interesting to note that it calls out search and performance display network as the key drivers for this growth. As a matter of fact, during ad:tech last week, this trend materialised quite clearly to us too.
When Jordi Ribas, Managing Director of the European Search Technology Centres, delivered his presentation on Bing, or directly on the Microsoft Advertising stand, people were queuing up en masse to learn more about the new search experience launched by Microsoft in June. Every visitor had a great level of awareness about Bing despite the service being still in Beta, but all wanted to explore the differentiating points that Bing offers to advertisers. Greater ROI is the short answer: by refining the consumer intent through the new search experience, Bing further qualifies leads and drives more-likely-to-convert traffic to the advertiser sites. This was already the strong Unique Selling Proposition of Live Search, Bing simply strengthened it and added more volumes.
The other hot topic was performance networks, and the Microsoft Media Network in particular. Although the economy is starting to show some early signs of recovery, marketers still put a strong emphasis on direct response. Microsoft's unique targeting capabilities and leading reach made Atlas and Microsoft Media Network stand out in ad:tech London.
To catch up on the presentations given during these two days, simply visit our dedicated ad:tech page.
2009 has seen marketing budgets being stretched to their very limits, and online has proved its value. Improved planning and insight tools mean more advertisers adopt the medium and increase its weight in their media mix. Brands want to leverage its targeting, accountability and measurability.
Given the ad:tech footfall and the constant follow-up meetings that we have had since, we're pleased that Microsoft Advertising seems to be very well positioned to help marketers navigate the possibilities of digital.