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30+ Astounding Digital Marketing Statistics for Brand Optimization

Written by, Andriana Moskovska

Updated December, 20, 2021

Ever since Google introduced AdWords in 2000, advertisers have been pouring money into online ads. Today digital marketing allows you to reach a slice of the 4.66 billion internet users worldwide. 

To give you an easy-to-digest overview of this topic, we curated the most interesting digital marketing statistics for the UK. Let’s dive in.

Ten Fascinating Digital Marketing Statistics for the UK

  • The UK digital advertising market is the biggest one in Europe and the third-largest in the world.
  • UK businesses spent 62% of their budgets on digital advertising in 2020.
  • Digital video advertising spending accounted for 52.8% of the total display ads spend.
  • 86% of UK businesses use content marketing.
  • Blog posts need to have 1,000+ words to get a higher search ranking.
  • For every £1 spent on email marketing, advertisers can expect an average return of £42.
  • There were 45 million active social media users in the UK in 2020.
  • Pinterest pins have the longest lifespan of any social media post.
  • 56% of total digital advertising spend in the UK came from mobile ad spend.
  • Google has the biggest share among internet marketing companies, with 40% of the total ad revenue in the UK.

General Digital Marketing Statistics in the UK

Social media vs. email marketing tool usage in the UK.

1.The UK digital advertising market is the biggest one in Europe and the third-largest in the world.

(Credo Report)

A recent report by Credo and Enders Analysis shows that online marketers invested £13.4 billion in the UK in 2018, making it the world’s third-biggest online advertising market behind the US and China.

2. 60% of the small businesses in the UK use paid digital advertising.


More than half of small businesses think that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital marketing is more important than ever. According to small business digital marketing statistics from an IAB UK study, 67% of businesses use free online marketing tools, while 60% rely on paid digital advertising.

3. Social media is the most prominent digital marketing channel.


Businesses consider a variety of channels to execute their advertising campaigns and to boost their sales. According to a Clutch survey, 81% of advertisers use social media, 78% use web marketing, and 69% use email. 

4. Why is digital marketing important?

(NI Business Info)

To answer this question, let’s go over some of the benefits of digital marketing. The key advantage is that it allows advertisers to reach a targeted audience cost-effectively in any place in the world. What’s more, it provides measurable results, and using channels such as social media helps raise brand awareness organically.

5. In 2019, 37% of Brits aged between 18 and 24 years were using an ad blocker.

(Statista) (Statista)

Statista reports that in 2020, 36% of British web users used ad-blocking software—a five percentage points drop from 2018. Ad-blockers were most often used by people aged between 18 and 24. 

Digital Marketing Spending Statistics

Search advertising as a part of the total digital ad in the UK.

6. UK advertisers spent 62% of their budgets on digital advertising in 2020.

(Unity) (Statista)

Businesses use digital marketing to take advantage of the opportunities that the internet offers for expansion. Last year the total digital advertising revenue in the UK was approximately £15.6 billion. In 2020, marketers spent almost two-thirds of their budgets on digital marketing.

7. In 2019, digital advertising spending per capita in the UK was €324.7.

(Statista) (Credo Report)

According to a Credo and Enders Analysis report, over the past decade, both online advertising spending and internet retail spending in the UK has been growing constantly. In 2019, digital advertising spending per person was €324.7, while in 2017, it was €240.

8. The retail industry is the most significant digital ad spender in the UK.


2020’s advertising statistics reveal that the travel industry took a massive hit, with a 36.7% decline in digital spend. On the other side was retail—fueled by the pandemic, this sector saw spending of £3.02 billion or 20% of all digital ad spending. Consumer packaged goods held second place, with a 13.5% share.

9. Digital video advertising spending accounted for 52.8% of the total display ads spending.


In 2020, there was a 15% increase in digital video spend compared to 2019. Marketers spent £3.72 billion on video advertising, which accounted for 52.8% of the total display ads spending. According to an eMarketer projection, by 2024, digital video spend will account for 60% of total display ads spending.

10. In 2019, £6.72 billion in the total digital ad spend in the UK came from paid search advertising.  

(Statista) (HubSpot)

Most people use Google when they search for a product or service. That’s why around 64% of advertisers invest time and funds in SEO (search engine optimisation). In 2019, search advertising accounted for 51% of total digital ad spend in the UK, or £6.72 billion.

11. Digital display advertising spending accounted for 40% of total digital advertising spend in the UK.

(Statista) (Statista)

UK advertising trends reveal that the most significant part of display ad spend belongs to programmatic display advertising, with 88,9% of total display ads in 2020. Digital display advertising was the second-largest format in this category.

12. ROI for digital marketing is 12:1 in the UK.


The return on investment (ROI) is the best way to find if your digital advertising strategy is effective. Looking at digital marketing ROI statistics, we can see that digital advertisement in the UK had a return of 12:1 in recent years, which is exceptional.

Content Marketing Statistics

Number of marketers in the UK that have measured their return on investment.

13. 86% of the businesses in the UK use content marketing.

(CMI report)

The content marketing statistics in the UK from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) show that 86% of marketers use this approach to reach customers. CMI’s statistics also indicate that 50% of marketers described their organisation’s commitment level to content marketing as extremely or very committed.

14. Only 38% of the UK’s marketers have documented content marketing strategies.

(CMI) (CMI report)

When it comes to internet marketing strategies, CMI says content is one of the most effective ways to promote a business. According to their content marketing stats, 78% of companies say their organisation has a content marketing strategy. 38% of those have a documented plan, while 40% have a verbal one only.

15. In the UK, 45% of marketers measure content marketing ROI.

(CMI report)

Despite any difficulties, it’s essential to have a correct measurement of ROI to justify your content marketing efforts. CMI’s digital content marketing stats show that 45% of marketers have measured their return on investment. On the other hand, 36% of marketers haven’t. 41% of them think it’s too complicated, and 21% think it’s too time-consuming.

16. Blog posts need to have 1,000+ words for a higher search ranking.

(Yoast) (HubSpot)

Blogs are the core of any content strategy. Blog posts need to be at least 300 words to rank on search engines, but if you want to boost SEO and user engagement, you need 1,000+ words. According to HubSpot, the more you publish, the more traffic you drive to your website.

Email Marketing Statistics

Average click-through email rate in the UK.

17. The UK has an average email open rate of 19.27%. 


To check if their email marketing strategy is on the right track, marketers need to learn how to calculate some important metrics. The average email open rate in the UK is currently 19.27%, according to GetResponse. The research also found the current average click-through rate is 2.51%, while the average unsubscribe rate is 0.16%.

18. Email marketing expenses can be significantly smaller than many other forms of marketing.

(NI Business Info)

Email marketing is a valuable tool with a lot of benefits. Marketing by email can be a quick, scalable, and cost-effective way to reach new potential customers and maintain current ones. Also, it’s better for the environment than postal mail marketing.

19. For every £1 spent on email marketing, advertisers can expect an average return of £42.


Email marketing offers an excellent investment return. Email marketing stats from CMI show that the ROI of this approach currently stands at over £42 for every pound spent—an increase of almost £10 from the previous study.

Social Media Marketing Statistics 

Value of social media advertising in the UK.

20. In 2020, there were over 48 million active social media users in the UK.


As reported by Statista, in 2020, the UK had 48.6 million active social media users. Social media demographics show a constant increase in the number of users. This trend of social networks usage is projected to continue in the coming years.

21. Social media advertising spend accounted for 23% of the total digital ad spend.

(Statista) (Statista)

The UK social media advertising segment reached a value of £3.59 billion in 2019, or 23% of the total digital ad spend. Statista’s analysis predicts that social ad spending will hit £5.2 billion in 2021 and further increase to £6.5 billion by 2025.

22. With 78%, YouTube is the most used social media platform in the UK.


If social marketers want to reach the broadest possible internet audience in the UK, they should focus their internet marketing strategies on platforms like YouTube or Facebook. 78% of UK internet users use YouTube, and 73% use Facebook, making them the two most popular social networks.

23. Pinterest pins have the longest lifespan of any social media post.

(MtoM Consulting)

Pinterest has the longest life for a piece of content compared to posts from other social networks. Pins on this image-based platform can sometimes generate engagement for a year or even longer, with the average lifespan being three months. Pinterest users also have higher purchasing intent than those of other platforms.

Mobile Marketing Statistics 

Smartphone ad revenue in the UK.

24. 81% of the people aged 16+ in the UK spent their online time on a mobile device.

(DataReportal) (Ofcom)

At a global level, in April 2021, the number of unique mobile phone users reached 5.27 billion, or 67.1% of the worldwide population. According to the Ofcom 2020 Summary report in the UK, over 80% of time spent online is on smartphones.

25. Mobile commerce sales accounted for more than 50% of the UK’s total ecommerce sales.


The largest share of UK ecommerce sales comes from mobile devices. Mobile shopping statistics reveal that retail mcommerce sales amounted to £61.14 billion in 2020 and are expected to grow to £105.28 billion by 2024.

26. 56% of total digital advertising spend in the UK was on mobile ads.


In a survey conducted by Statista in 2019, the UK’s total digital ads revenue was £15.7 billion, and smartphones ad revenue accounted for £8.8 billion of that. 

27. In the UK, the average open rate for SMS is 95%.


SMS texts continue to be an effective tool for customer interaction simply because consumers are more likely to open a text than respond to an unsolicited email or phone call. The SMS open rate is 95%—a far greater rate than for any other channel.

Digital Advertising Industry in the UK

Average wage of a digital marketing executive in the UK.

28. Of all internet marketing companies, Google held 40% of the total ad revenue in the UK in 2018.

(eMarketer) (Statista)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were significant cuts in travel ad spending, which led to a decrease of 5.5% in Google’s overall ad revenue. Google held 40% of the UK’s total digital ad market size. The company is expected to stay at the top in 2021, although Facebook is narrowing the gap.

29. Facebook’s digital advertising revenue in the UK was estimated at £2.6 billion.

(eMarketer) (Statista)

Facebook showed that it’s more resistant than Google to shake-ups in the digital marketing industry, such as the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts attribute that to Facebook’s easy-to-use and direct-response advertising options. After a minor dip, the social platform’s ad revenue actually grew in 2020.

30. In the UK, a digital marketing expert can take home a salary of over £40,000.

(Digital Marketing Jobs)

The salaries of digital marketing industry professionals are highly dependent on experience. For example, the average salary for the Head of Digital Marketing position ranges from £36,713 to £43,313, while a Digital Marketing Executive makes an average wage of £23,950. Pay also varies by location.

Digital vs Traditional Marketing

31. In 2021, UK adults will spend an average of 5 hours and 16 minutes per day with digital media.


According to eMarketer’s digital marketing vs traditional marketing statistics, 2019 was the first year ever when Brits spent more time with digital media than traditional media. The projection for 2021 is that the daily average time spent on digital media will grow to 5 hours and 35 minutes.

32. Streaming services are the main reason why traditional TV time is declining. 


The relevance of traditional marketing and its impact on the world is gradually declining. The average time spent with traditional media has been falling since 2018, and in 2021 is predicted to decrease from close to 5 hours to 4 hours and 33 minutes.

Digital Advertising Trends

Total advertising expenditure growth in the UK.

33. The advertising market experienced a 16.7% fall in spending in 2020.

(Statista) (Statista)

After a decade of growth in the UK, digital ad spend declined across all categories. It’s expected that search and display ads won’t see positive growth until 2021. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, total advertising expenditure growth declined by 16.7%.

34. Customer experience has never been more important.

(Social Media Today)

The UK advertising trends for digital have been hotly debated lately. Two of the key marketing trends in 2021 advertisers need to consider are livestream and influencer marketing. What’s more, brands need to have more transparent goodwill and purpose-driven missions to fit the needs of modern consumers.

Bottom Line

In today’s world, digital marketing is more relevant than ever. Advertisers need to develop a strong online presence if they want to expand their business or even just keep afloat.

Hopefully, this list of digital marketing statistics for the UK gave you a better understanding of the current state of the sector and its expected development.


As a digital marketing specialist, I am well aware of how hard it can be to find credible sources online. Frustrated at the state of affairs, I created Don’t Disappoint Me. Now, together with my team of dedicated experts, we aim to bring you 100% reliable, unbiased and recent content on everything you could ever imagine. When I’m not working, you’ll catch me watching a documentary or two, rewatching LOTR for the 20th time, or going on walks with my two dogs, which take up most of my free time. But hey, who’s complaining?