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UK: Google and Facebook Outpace Projections, Despite Woes

Duopoly share will surpass 70% by 2021

October 17, 2019 (London, UK) – Google has faced three EU fines in two years. Facebook is under scrutiny for its data collection practices, in addition to questions about its cryptocurrency, Libra. Yet the tech giants’ combined share of the UK digital advertising market will continue to grow, surpassing even our Q1 projections.

According to our latest forecast, Google and Facebook (including Instagram) will net a combined 68.5% of the £14.56 billion ($19.41 billion) UK digital ad market this year. That’s higher than the 63.3% we projected in Q1. Based on the current forecast, the duopoly’s share will surpass 70% by 2021.

“Despite economic uncertainty due to Brexit, Google’s and Facebook’s ad revenues continue to grow at the expense of smaller players,” eMarketer forecasting director Shelleen Shum said. “When budgets are tight, advertisers tend to favor tried-and-true platforms that, on average, provide better measurement statistics and assurances against fraud.”



In 2019, Google’s net UK digital ad revenues will grow 10.0% to reach £6.20 billion ($8.27 billion). That will decrease its share of the UK digital ad market to 42.6% this year, standing at 40.5% by 2021. These figures are getting lower over time, but both are higher than what we had predicted in Q1, when we estimated Google’s 2019 and 2020 shares at 38.8% and 36.7%, respectively.

“Even though Google’s share will decline slightly over time, there’s no sign that it will lose its dominance in the UK market in the foreseeable future,” Shum said. “Search remains a central, intuitive habit for all internet users, and Google still has that covered.”

The lion’s share (83.4%) of Google’s revenues come from its search business. Google’s search will grow about 10% this year, capturing a staggering 79.9% of the UK search ad market.

Meanwhile, Google’s share of the worldwide digital ad market continues to rise. We forecast it will grow to 32.0% in 2019, up from 31.4% last year. Google’s worldwide net digital ad revenues will total $105.33 billion, surpassing $100 billion for the first time.



Facebook’s net digital ad revenues will grow 25.6% this year to reach £3.77 billion ($5.03 billion). As a result, its share of total digital ad spending will swell to 25.9% this year, higher than the 24.5% previously forecast. Unlike Google, Facebook’s share continues to grow; it will surpass 30% of the UK digital ad market by 2021.

Facebook also commands an 86.7% share of social network ad spending in the UK, far higher than that of any competitor. For reference, Twitter has a 4.7% share, and Snapchat follows with 2.8%.

Facebook ad revenues are derived entirely from display advertising. This year, it will capture 58.5% of UK display ad spending, reaching 60.5% next year.



eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.


About eMarketer
Founded in 1996, eMarketer is the first place to look for research about marketing in a digital world.  eMarketer enables thousands of companies worldwide to understand marketing trends, consumer behavior and get the data needed to succeed in the competitive and fast-changing digital economy.  eMarketer’s flagship product, eMarketer PRO, is home to all of eMarketer’s research, including forecasts, analyst reports, aggregated data from 3,000+ sources, interviews with industry leaders, articles, charts and comparative market data. eMarketer’s free daily newsletters span the US, EMEA and APAC and are read by more than 200,000 readers globally.  In 2016 eMarketer, Inc. was acquired by European media giant Axel Springer S.E.

Posted on October 17, 2019.