Google and Meta spent a record amount on advertising in the UK last year as the tech giants came under greater regulatory pressure in Westminster.
According to Nielsen, estimates shared with Press Gazette show Google’s ad spend in the UK in 2022 was £195m, up 16% from 2021.
Only a fraction of Google and Meta’s ad spend went towards traditional media outlets.
Google spent £1.6m on press advertising last year, down from £3.1m in 2021, while Meta spent less than £900,000, down from £1.7m.
TV advertising accounted for £26.3m (14%) of Google’s ad spend and £12.7m (14%) of Meta’s UK marketing outlay.
Google spent 61% of its money on digital video advertising, an area dominated by its sister brand Youtube. Meta’s biggest areas for ad spend were on outdoor media (£29.3m) – a category that includes advertising boards – and social media (£23m).
Both firms' spending has grown significantly in recent years, according to the Nielsen figures (below), which go back to 2017.
Over the same period, the proportion of money spent on press advertising has declined. Google's £1.6m of press advertising last year was its lowest outlay in the period, while Meta's £0.9m was its lowest since 2017.
So far in 2023, Nielsen has tracked £14m of Google ad spend in the UK, including £0.9m in the press, and £10m by Meta, with £0.4m going to the press.
In recent months, as the tech duo face increased regulatory pressure in the UK, including through the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, Google has taken out several high-profile ads in newspapers and in Politico’s Playbook newsletter to highlight its benefits to the news industry and wider economy. It is not clear whether these ads are counted in the 2023 totals so far.
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