There have been 19 consecutive quarters of growth in advertising spend in the UK, and it’s predicted to continue. With the rate of growth more than double that of the GDP there is no denying how important marketing is to businesses in the UK. There is currently nearly 5% growth in spend year on year, so we could be looking at over £23m advertising spend in 2018.

However, that doesn’t include budget allocated to branding, strategy development, staffing, sales collateral, or perhaps even the cost of production. This gap is further compounded based on how people perceive marketing expenses. Is sales collateral a sales or marketing expense? Do marketing staff count within the budget?

Ultimately, the cost of marketing for businesses in the UK far exceeds that of advertising spend. But, what can we learn from the data we do have?


What do people spend their marketing budget on?

Primarily it’s digital marketing. 52% of advertising spend in the UK goes towards digital marketing, with nearly half of that on mobile devices. In fact, search advertising accounts for nearly 30% of the total advertising spend in the UK, which puts it as top dog.

The next biggest spend was TV at 22% of the UKs advertising budget, followed by Direct Mail with 7%. With digital marketing dominating the UK advertising spend it shows how important it is to marketers, and how important it could be to your organisational success. So, are you focusing half of your budget on digital, or maybe you’re thinking about realigning your spend now? Either way, spending alone isn’t good enough – you must know it will work.


The top digital marketing activities for return on investment (ROI)

According to research by GetResponse, the digital marketing channels that provide the highest ROI are Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Content Marketing, and Social Media Pay-Per-Click (PPC). The worst for measured ROI included Affiliate Marketing, Display Advertising and Direct Mail (which is the 3rd highest spend in the UK).

Arguably, Email and Social Media Marketing might provide the highest ROI as they are often managed in-house at a very low cost other than time. Technical forms of digital marketing including PPC and SEO, which are often outsourced, are providing an impressive ROI to compete due to their higher ongoing costs.

And what does that mean for you? Are you performing the activities with the highest ROI and are you doing it well enough to see those returns?


How do I get the most out of digital marketing and am I doing digital marketing right?

One thing you must have right to succeed in digital marketing is your website. Most digital marketing strategies involve directing people to your website where they are encouraged to take the action you prefer – call, email, or buy. Make sure you are building specific pages to match up to your campaigns and that they are optimised for conversions – landing pages. No matter how good your campaigns are, if people are being directed somewhere poor they will just turn away.

Additionally, note that 52% of internet traffic is on mobile devices. This means that your website and your campaign should be optimised for use on mobile or you’re ultimately wasting half of your budget. If you look at your website on mobile and think “that’s actually pretty naff” then so are your customers. Your mobile experience could be costing you half of your digital marketing budget every year.

Finally, when it comes to knowing if you are doing digital marketing right you have to make sure you’re collecting the relevant data. Ensure you have the right data gathering technologies in place as well as processes for reviewing them. To do digital marketing right you have to create, test, amend, test, amend. It is an ongoing process which must be performed continually to get the highest digital marketing ROI.


How can I assess my digital marketing campaigns?

A digital marketing consultant can review everything you are currently doing and provide feedback to help you improve your activity. For instance, my digital marketing packages include reviews of your website for SEO, PPC, and social media platforms. They start at £235 and provide you with actionable feedback to improve your digital marketing activity and to boost your ROI.



UK advertising spend achieves record for Q1 2018: AA, WARC (

Email Marketing & Beyond: Global Industry Benchmarks 2017: GetResponse & Holistic Email Marketing (

Digital in 2018: We Are Social; StatCounter (