UK ad spend continues to fall, says Billetts

UK advertising spend is continuing to decline in the face of the ongoing credit-crunch, research from analysts Billetts reveals. Spend figures for June to August show a 1% fall from the last financial year as top advertisers including Procter & Gamble, Aviva, BT Group and Vodafone decrease their ad spend.

The government, utilities, financial services and automotive sectors were hit hardest this summer, according to the report. Government and utilities spend fell 19% and financial services spend fell 11%, while motoring was down by 6%.

Billetts says that ad expenditure in financial services fell due to slashed spends by companies such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Aviva, despite a boost in online affiliate spending.

Nick Manning, chief operating officer of Billett’s parent company Ebiquity, says: “Our analysis shows that advertisers in different sectors are running varied ad strategies through the economic downturn – some increasing spend, others holding back.

“As conditions inevitably bite further though, one thing will become even more imperative: advertisers will need to optimise value at every stage of the ad planning and execution process to maximise return on investment on their budgets.”

The research by the Billetts Media Monitoring division is based on an analysis of more than 14 million UK ads over the last two years. Its expenditure figures are modeled from 180 leading advertisers who have spent more than £6 billion over the two years.

The biggest rises last quarter in year-on-year ad spend were in pharmaceuticals (7%), entertainment, media and leisure (6%) and travel (5%).

Billets says the rise in pharmaceuticals comes from laser eye treatment specialists Optical Express and Optimax, who spent an extra £2.5m in Jun-Aug 2008 than they did in the same quarter in 2007.

In entertainment, media & leisure, summer blockbuster films such as Mamma Mia and Wall-E helped contribute to the increase in marketing spend.

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