Interactive becomes biggest advertising channel as it cracks the $800 million mark

TV’s reign as the biggest contributor to annual ad spend has come to an end with news from the IAB today that advertisers spent more than $800 million on interactive advertising in 2015.

While the ASA’s annual ad spend results have not yet been released, there’s little doubt that interactive ad spend has overtaken television, which contributed $614 million in 2014, down from the $634 million recorded the year before.     

In 2015, advertisers increased their spend by over $110 million from the $589 million posted a year earlier.

This increase was fuelled by significant growth in the mobile (122 percent), social media (66 percent), search and directories (44 percent), classified (16 percent) and display (seven percent) categories.

The only category to drop was online video, which slipped by two percent from the figure recorded last year. 

The lion’s share of interactive ad spend went again to search and directories (predominantly made up of Google spend), which contributed a hefty $447 million.

Social media spend, of which around 90 percent comes from Facebook, contributed $38.61 million—and this is only set to increase as brands continue using the channel to connect with its massive audience.

The mobile category only contributed $27 million to overall ad spend in 2015. And while this was a major year-on-year lift from the previous year, it leaves a lot of room for growth.   

It is worth noting that although marketers are becoming increasingly comfortable shifting their budgets across to digital channels, this does not mean that the traditional channels are dead. 

In fact, the very channels that are taking an ever-bigger slice of the overall spend also rely on television to give their messages additional reach. 

In fact, figures published by Business Insider earlier this week showed that tech companies are some of the biggest contributors to overall TV ad spend in the UK: 

“Perhaps surprisingly, it was digital powerhouses like Facebook and Google which led this growth. Digital companies are often said to be taking away TV ad revenue, but on average they spent 60 percent of their own marketing budgets on TV ads in the UK. This totaled around £500 million (about $704 million). Facebook invested the most of any new TV advertiser at £10.8 million (about $15.2 million).”

Here are a few of the TV ads Google and Facebook have recently run in international markets:



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