National news brands experienced stronger growth last year than forecasts initially anticipated
According to the latest advertising expenditure report from the Advertising Association and WARC, total ad spend in news brands grew 13.7% year-on-year in 2021, with digital news brand spend experiencing an even larger increase of 22.7%.
With the country living without most major Covid restrictions by the end of the year, both figures correspond to a recovery that is stronger than previously expected. Total ad spend has been revised up by 2.8 percentage points on the most recent forecasts made in January, while figures for digital have been revised up from January’s forecast by 5.3 percentage points.
In 2022, total news brand ad expenditure is forecast to grow by 1%, of which online spend will grow by 4.5%.
Overall, the UK advertising market experienced a growth of 34.3% year-on-year in 2021, reaching a record £31.9 billion. This makes the UK the largest market in Europe and the third largest in the world.
Commenting on the latest figures, Newsworks CEO Jo Allan says: “It’s brilliant to see the news industry’s recovery from the effects of the pandemic reflected in strong growth in ad spend over the last twelve months.
“From the industry’s collaboration with the UK government on the All Together Covid messaging campaign to ensuring readers can access trusted news wherever it’s published, quality journalism continues to demonstrate its importance.”
These themes are particularly noted in a report produced by the AA, WARC and the AA’s think tank Credos into the pandemic’s effect on ad spend in the media industry.
Commenting on the All Together campaign as part of the UK government’s wider Covid messaging strategy, Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford says: “Such innovation, creativity and responsiveness will be critical in the years going forward, as we build a sustainable future for our industry, and help businesses, large and small, build relationships with their customers.”
Elsewhere in the report, The Sun’s EVP, publisher Dominic Carter remarks on how the news brand has responded to disruptions from Covid, economic shocks and the transition away from third-party cookies.
He says: “The last year has been a great one commercially for us and for the industry. It’s been a hectic and often difficult time but despite the challenges we all faced, by and large the advertising industry has shown fantastic creativity, growth and adaptability.
“We emerge from this unprecedented time, stronger than we went into it and with lessons learned about new ways of working to ensure that collaboration, innovation, and creativity remained at the heart of what we do in order to sustain professional journalism at scale.”