Last Updated: February 9, 2024
Digital marketing involves marketing and advertising products and services through online or digital channels, and it is considered the future of marketing. Namely, spending on digital ads in the UK is expected to reach more than £129 billion in 2021.
Unquestionably, digital marketing is thriving in today’s internet era. But how much will digital marketing grow in the coming years? What are the most popular channels for digital marketing? What kind of impact does social media have on digital marketing?
In this Digital Marketing Statistics UK article, we’ve brought you the best statistics so that you can get a proper perspective of today’s digital marketing industry in the UK.
Top Ten Digital Marketing Statistics UK
- Digital marketing spending in the UK grew by 9.6% between 2020 and 2021.
- 19.4% of marketers stated they plan on increasing social media expenditure.
- 57% of video marketers in the UK reported using live videos.
- In 2019, advertisers spent £7.1 billion on paid search advertising in the UK.
- Social media ad revenue was expected to grow by 6.3% in 2020.
- The average email open rate in the UK was found to be 16.4%.
- The average click-through rate in the UK was found to be 1.6%.
- In 2018, the unsubscribe-to-open rates for emails in the UK were 5.77%.
- 99% of email users check their inbox each day.
- 72% of marketing spending in the UK was allocated towards digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Statistics UK
In 2020, 72% of marketing spending in the UK was allocated towards digital marketing
It’s no secret that digital marketing has been gaining importance. Over the past decade, spending on digital marketing has far surpassed spending on traditional or offline marketing.
The total share of offline marketing was just 10.5% of overall marketing expenditure in the UK in 2020. Furthermore, only 9.9% of respondents stated they spend equally on online and offline marketing channels, while 7.6% were unsure and still figuring out their marketing strategy.
Digital marketing spending in the UK grew by 9.6% between 2020 and 2021
Digital marketing has far overtaken traditional marketing in the UK. The overall spending on digital marketing has been growing each year. A study conducted in January 2021 found that the pace of growth has been approximately 10% every year. Digital marketing statistics show that this number is likely to increase to 18.7% between 2021 and 2022. This study was only conducted with for-profit companies.
According to 25.6% of marketers in the UK, social media was considered the most successful channel for marketing
There are several marketing channels available to the modern marketer. So, what are the types of digital marketing? The most popular choices include social media, content marketing, Google ads, print, TV, and radio. Out of these, social media is the most effective. The rise of social media marketing has been well documented.
Traditional forms of marketing such as TV and radio lagged far behind, with only 2.2% of marketers saying that it was their preferred channel.
According to social marketing statistics, 19.4% of marketers planned to increase social media expenditure in 2021
As mentioned earlier, spending on digital marketing is only increasing. Social media marketing is expected to witness the highest increase in expenditure within digital marketing, followed by Google Ads. 18.75% of marketers stated they would be increasing their spending on Google Ads. Other popular channels with an increase in spending include content marketing and email marketing.
41% of B2B marketers are planning on using videos as their preferred marketing medium
Between text, audio, and video, the most popular medium for marketing is indeed video. Consumers relate more to videos rather than text or audio. Video marketing is also effective in both B2C and B2B markets. The most preferred channels for video marketing are Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
57% of video marketers in the UK reported using live videos
Gone are the days when marketers used to shy away from live marketing. Since customers and clients respond better to live videos, marketers are getting on board. As a result, most video marketers have embraced live videos to engage their audiences and build brand authority. Promotion through live videos has been made possible through platforms such as YouTube.
In 2019, advertisers spent £7.1 billion on paid search advertising in the UK
Within the UK ad market, paid search advertising saw the highest spending amongst all forms of digital advertising. Paid search advertising even beat traditional forms of advertising such as television and print. However, even though spending on digital advertising has been increasing overall, spending on online publication ads saw a significant decline. Magazine advertising expenditure in the UK was only £718 million in 2018 and was expected to decline further.
Facebook’s revenue from advertising was expected to be more than £2.6 billion in 2019 in the UK alone
Facebook dominates the digital marketing industry. Facebook’s revenue from advertising has only been growing over the past decade. In 2017, Facebook saw revenues of around £1.9 billion. This figure was expected to increase from 2019 onwards. A significant share of online advertising revenue belongs to platforms like Facebook due to Facebook’s high number of daily active users. Facebook ads are also more effective due to their targeted nature.
Due to the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, UK ad spending on online display ads declined by 12.7%
COVID-19 harmed the UK economy as a whole, and spending on digital marketing was no exception. Digital marketing in the UK saw a decline in spending in 2020 compared to the previous year. Search ads saw a drop of 12.1%, while online magazine ads dropped by 25.1%. However, it is noteworthy that overall digital marketing spending declined by a lower rate than traditional marketing expenditure.
75% of agency marketers rated email marketing as the most effective means of digital marketing in terms of return on investment (ROI)
Email marketing has been growing in popularity over the past decade. Most marketers are turning to email marketing due to the relatively high returns on investment. Email marketing is usually combined with other forms of digital marketing, such as content marketing or digital ads. 73% of in-house marketers said that email marketing is the most efficient means of digital marketing.
In 2019, Accenture Interactive was the leading digital marketing agency in the UK in terms of income
Digital marketing in the United Kingdom is dominated by Accenture Interactive, which saw an annual income of £370.5 million in 2019, the highest amongst all UK-based digital marketing agencies. Accenture Interactive was closely followed by IBM iX and Atos Digital Services. Both of them witnessed incomes of £282 million and £251 million, respectively.
A net balance of -11.5% of companies recorded a decrease in digital marketing expenditure in the first quarter of 2021
The figure was arrived at by subtracting the number of companies increasing their marketing budget by the number of companies decreasing their marketing budget. The lower marketing budget can be attributed to the spread of the Coronavirus, which has impacted almost all kinds of business activities. This number is expected to be positive in 2022 and beyond as the economy recovers from the virus effects.
58% of UK PR professionals stated that paid social media marketing was their main area of digital marketing expenditure
This study was conducted in 2019 to gauge the channels in which digital marketing spending in the UK was highest. The study found that social media marketing was the most preferred channel, closely followed by search advertising (Google).
Between 2016 and 2019, the top ten digital marketing agencies roughly doubled their income
The growth of the top ten marketing agencies in the UK far outpaced the development of the other agencies. In 2019, the top ten marketing agencies had a collective income of £185 million. In contrast, the other digital marketing agencies only grew by around 37% during the same period. On average, the top ten digital marketing agencies had an income 12 times higher than the other agencies.
In 2019, an average of 41% of UK companies’ marketing budgets was spent on content marketing
Content marketing formed a major part of marketing budgets across the UK in 2019. Content marketing includes marketing through text, audio, and video-based content. Moreover, content marketing lagged only behind social media in terms of average digital marketing expenditure.
Social Media Marketing Statistics UK
In 2020, YouTube was the most popular social media channel in the UK, with a usage penetration rate of 79.9%
YouTube penetrates a vast audience in the UK, making it an attractive advertising choice for brands of almost any sort. Market trends show that Facebook closely followed YouTube’s popularity with a penetration rate of 73%. The most popular social media platforms in terms of penetration rate in the UK are YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok, and more.
In the UK, social media ad revenue was expected to grow by 6.3% in 2020
Advertising statistics show that social media advertising has become the preferred destination for digital marketing expenditure. Social media advertising presents a vast range of benefits when compared to traditional advertising. The benefits include sophisticated targeting options, flexible budgets, search intent, high user penetration, and more. Social media advertising was adversely affected by the spread of the Coronavirus but is expected to recover quickly.
Email Marketing Statistics UK
On average, in 2020, an email marketer in the UK could expect to make £35.4 for every pound spent on email marketing
Email marketing remains the digital marketing method with the highest return on investment. However, the average ROI for email marketing in 2020 dropped in comparison to 2019. In 2019, a UK email marketer could expect an average ROI of £42.2. However, keep in mind that return on investment vastly differs depending on the type of industry and the quality of the email campaign itself.
In 2020, approximately 60% of respondents stated they spent around 20% of their marketing budget on email marketing
Email marketing in the United Kingdom has grown by leaps and bounds. More than half the companies in the UK involved in digital marketing also conducting email campaigns as a form of marketing. Approximately 7% of the respondents to this survey stated they spent more than 80% of their marketing budgets on just email marketing. Thus, email marketing is a prevalent form of digital marketing for companies in the UK.
More than 57% of respondents stated they subscribed to email lists since such emails contained discounts and offers
The biggest reason UK consumers subscribe to brand mailing lists is to take advantage of special discounts and offers only found in such emails. The second biggest reason is that brand emails felt more personalised as opposed to other forms of marketing.
In a 2019 survey, more than 85% of respondents stated they found interesting less than half of the emails they received as part of marketing campaigns
UK consumers, by and large, were not interested in more than half of the emails that they received. Marketing statistics show that only 13% of respondents were interested in more than half of the emails they received.
The average email open rate in the UK was found to be 16.4%
The email open rate refers to the number of emails opened versus the number of emails sent. Marketers found that the email open rate can be improved by comprehensive testing of different email copies. Another popular way of improving the open rate was to segment email lists.
The average click-through rate in the UK was found to be 1.6%
The click-through rate refers to the percentage of people who click on a link in the email versus the total number of people to whom the email was sent. The click-through rate is an important metric to measure how effective an email campaign is.
49% of people in the UK stated they would open an email if sent from a brand they are aware of
This statistic demonstrates why email marketing is so effective. Consumers like to hear from brands they are aware of. Once email marketers have a foot through the door, they can keep consumers abreast with all relevant developments with their products and services, such as offers, discounts, or a new launch.
99% of email users check their inbox each day
The future of digital marketing is email campaigns. A reason why email marketing is so effective is that consumers check their emails often. That is why communicating via email works for brands. As a result, email marketing quickly replaces direct mail marketing as the preferred way for brands to stay in touch with their customers.
According to a 2020 survey, 49% of marketers used email marketing for discounts and special offers
Marketers use email marketing for various reasons, the most common of which is to offer discounts. Other reasons for using email marketing are providing advice and information, advance notice for new products or services, email receipts, conducting competitions, confirmations or updates, and more.
In 2018, the unsubscribe-to-open rate for emails in the UK was 5.77%
What is an unsubscribe-to-open (UTOR) rate? Essentially, it’s the percentage of people who unsubscribe after opening an email. The lower the UTOR rate, the better it is. An ideal UTOR rate is considered to be below 2%. The cause of a high UTOR rate is that the marketing team is sending irrelevant content or their targeting is flawed. Usually, it is a little bit of both.
Mobile Marketing Statistics UK
According to a survey released in 2018, 37% of digital marketers see mobile conversion as the most crucial metric for mobile marketing
Mobile marketing is one of the latest digital marketing trends and an innovative marketing technique. It is a highly effective UK marketing channel within the marketing industry since smartphone users are ubiquitous these days. Several metrics exist for measuring the effectiveness of a mobile marketing campaign, of which the conversion rate is the most important.
According to mobile marketing statistics 2020, 36% of mobile marketing budgets were allocated towards social media marketing
In this Digital Marketing Statistics UK article, we have already mentioned that social media is the most important channel for digital marketing. Furthermore, it has been proven that social media is considered the most essential for mobile digital marketing as well. Therefore, the growth of mobile marketing is imminent since most people use their smartphones to access social media, proving to be a highly effective marketing tool.
Digital marketing UK is evidently on the rise while traditional forms of marketing are waning. Several reasons contribute to the increase in digital marketing, such as effective targeting, increasing audience size, relative cost-effectiveness, and more.
So take a look at these digital marketing statistics UK again, and use the facts wisely. They might help you make your next move in promoting your products and services through digital marketing.