UK Media Buyers Expect Ad Spend Bounce-Back, FreeWheel Research Reveals

Two-thirds of respondents from agencies, DSPs and direct advertisers predict highest levels of  investment in TV and OTT

New research from FreeWheel, a Comcast Company, finds media buyers confident about ad spend bounce-back in most sectors in the coming months.

The survey targeting media agencies, DSPs and direct advertisers, looked at buy-side perceptions of advertising in the UK, France and Germany in the current environment. When asked whether specific sectors would see a resumption in ad spend, UK respondents were most positive about the food industry (100%) and the tech sector (77%).

When asked about other sectors, two-thirds were confident about the return of ad spend in the telecoms (68%), beauty (65%), and financial services sectors (61%). Over half (55%) of respondents expressed confidence about an ad spend bounce-back for automotive.

Confidence across the three regions as a whole was slightly more cautious than in the UK when it came to ad spend on food (84%), technology (65%), and beauty (53%). The one area that bucked this trend was travel, where almost half (49%) expected spending to resume, as opposed to 35% in the UK.

The survey also asked media buyers what they thought advertising strategies would look like in the coming months. An overwhelming majority of UK respondents (68%) expected advertisers to invest the most in TV broadcasting and over-the-top video. In addition to this, over half of respondents (55%) planned to allocate more than 10% of their budgets towards ‘new TV’ or digital / advanced TV, which includes set-top-boxes, video-on-demand, over-the-top, addressable TV, and internet protocol TV.

The survey also indicated a move to more targeted or addressable techniques in general, with a third (31%) of respondents expecting to rely more heavily on data-based targeting.

Virginie Dremeaux, Executive Director, Product and Sales Marketing International, FreeWheel, said of the findings:

“The advertising industry is entering a new phase after a long period of uncertainty. Our research hopefully provides reassurance as media buyers have expressed cross-sector confidence about ad spend.

“The study also provides insights into future media spend. Specifically, TV looks to remain a mainstay for media buyers, with an added focus on data-driven strategies, which indicates a focus on quality and return on investment for clients.” 

Methodology: The survey was carried out by FreeWheel in the UK, Germany and France between 10 June 2020 and 22 June 2020. It was completed by 68 senior respondents from the big five agencies (WPP, Havas, Dentsu, IPG and Omnicom), independent agencies or trading desks, DSPs, and direct advertisers.

About FreeWheel

FreeWheel, a Comcast Advanced Advertising Company, is the industry’s most complete advertising management solution. Purpose built for the New TV ecosystem, we enable our collective client base across all key industry segments to manage and monetise their premium video inventory in the brand safe ways they require. Our leading technology, unmatched service and guidance, and collaborative advocacy power the advertising businesses of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world, including AOL, DIRECTV, Fox, NBC Universal, Turner Broadcasting System, and Viacom in the U.S., and MTG, Sky, Canal + and Channel 4 in Europe. Our offerings work in synchronised tandem to meet every aspect of our clients’ business needs across all screens, data sets, and monetisation channels, while providing the full safety, compliance, and control the New TV ecosystem demands. With offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Beijing, and across the globe, FreeWheel stands to advocate for the entire industry through the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. For more information please visit and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.