Amazon was the UK’s top ‘online-born’ TV advertiser in 2021, with spend totalling £68.2m, new data reveals.
According to figures from Thinkbox and Nielsen Ad Intel covering linear and on-demand channels, TV advertising investment in the UK reached a record level last year, increasing by over £1bn to £5.46bn. That represents an increase of 24% on 2020 and 11% on pre-pandemic 2019.
Online-born businesses – or businesses that began online with no prior bricks-and-mortar presence – were the category to increase their linear TV investment the most. These businesses invested £1.12bn in TV advertising, up 42% on 2020, or an additional £335m.
Online-born businesses now represent 20% of all linear TV advertising spend.
The second largest spender among online-born businesses was Compare the Market, which spent £60.3m on linear TV. Second-hand marketplace Vinted came in third with £33.1m spent, followed by Google (£28.1m), Deliveroo (£28m), Cinch Cars (£26.2m) and Just Eat (£26.1m).
Data released by Nielsen last week revealed Amazon to be the fifth largest TV spender in the UK overall, pipped to the top spot by FMCG giant Procter & Gamble (P&G), Sky, Unilever and Reckitt.
Nevertheless, the ecommerce giant and former advertising sceptic was crowned the UK’s top advertiser by spend, overtaking P&G and Sky, who came in second and third respectively.
Surge in first time advertisers
Within the world of online-born businesses, the fastest growing sub-category in 2021 was food delivery. Brands including Just Eat, Uber Eats, Gousto and Hello Fresh contributed towards a total TV spend of £127m, up £58m year on year.
Online marketplaces including Amazon, Vinted, Ebay and Etsy followed with a spend increase of £35m, as the sub-category topped the leaderboard with total investment of £134m.
Finance grew the third fastest, with brands including Clearscore and Experian increasing their spend by £31m to £64m.
According to Nielsen, 2021 saw 1,286 advertisers use TV for the first time or return to it after more than five years away. In 2020 there were 1,243 new TV advertisers.
This marks a dramatic increase over the last two years, as between 2015 and 2019 the average number of new-to-TV advertisers a year was 841.
The biggest new TV advertiser was alarm system company Verisure, which invested £10.9m in 2021. Other notable new entrants include online property platform Boomin, which invested £8.4m, home appliances brand DeLonghi, which spent £3.2m, and seafood brand Mowi, which spent £2.5m.
TV’s rising popularity and boost in spend is “no surprise”, Nielsen says, as the firm’s 2021 Trust in Advertising Survey found television was one of the most trusted sources of advertising messages. Some 62% of respondents trust TV product placement somewhat or completely, and 59% say they will sometimes or always take action after being exposed to TV advertising.
“TV came back stronger in 2021 than anyone predicted – surpassing pre-pandemic investment levels – and there are many factors driving its return to growth,” says Thinkbox CEO Lindsey Clay.
“Yes, the short-term bounce back from the pandemic, but also its revitalisation by new advertisers; established advertisers re-evaluating TV; and advanced advertising solutions making it an attractive investment for a wider range of businesses.”
TV’s price also increased last year as advertiser demand surged, Clay adds, which will have contributed to its growth.
Overall, Nielsen recorded a 20% lift in all ad spend last year, following a 17% decline in 2020.