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  1. Tech Platforms
July 27, 2023

Charted: Google and Meta’s growing advertising spend in the UK

The tech giants are spending a record amount on ads in the UK but less with traditional media.

By William Turvill

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.

Meta, the owner of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, spent £90m on marketing campaigns in the UK, up 58% from the previous year.

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.

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TV advertising accounted for £26.3m (14%) of Google’s ad spend and £12.7m (14%) of Meta’s UK marketing outlay.

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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.

[Google and Meta have made 6,773 grants to news publishers: What are they up to?]

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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