Classified ad spending increased eight percent in the U.K. in 2016 to £1.5 billion (about $1.9 billion U.S.), according to a new analysis done by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC.

The researchers concluded that classified ad spend, including spending on jobs, real estate and automotive listings, represented 14 percent of total digital advertising spend in the U.K. in 2016 (see illustration).  

Source: IAB/PwC

Overall, digital advertising grew at its fastest rate in the U.K. for nine years, with a 17.3-percent increase to £10.3 billion (about $13.2 billion U.S.) in 2016.

Across all types of digital advertising, the research identified a number of key trends relevant to classifieds advertisers:

  • Mobile is the major driver of growth: As almost half of U.K. internet time is now spent on smartphones, mobile-ad spend rose 50.8 percent to £3.9 billion (about $4.9 billion)
  • Video is the fastest-growing digital advertising format: Spend on mobile video ads more than doubled (up 103 percent) to £693 million (about $779 million) – making it the fastest growing ad format.
  • Programmatic advertising is on the rise: Display-ad spend rose 26 percent year-on-year to £3.8 billion (about $4.8 billion) in 2016. Further, 72 percent of this was traded programmatically – with significant growth coming from direct deals and private marketplaces.

Dan Bunyan, senior manager at PwC, commented: “The biggest change in how display ads are sold, is the rise of programmatic direct, which now accounts for nearly half of sales.

“Right now, considerations such as brand safety mean the advertiser is rightly demanding more certainty in the placement of their ads, and the industry is evolving quickly to find new solutions to address brands’ needs in this dynamic environment,” he said. 

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