Advertising Industry Guide

Nike, Marmite and Apple logos

Here you will find sources of information such as market research (statistics, trends, developments), key companies, trade magazines, newsletters, and Internet sources.

This guide will be useful to anyone starting a business within the advertising industry and also for those wanting to further their knowledge within this area.

Start-Up Information

COBRA logo
accessible via electronic databases
The Cobra database contains practical fact-sheets on all aspects of starting, running and managing a small business – including information on writing business plans, marketing, company structures etc.

It also covers the practical aspects of how to start and run particular types of businesses – outlining necessary skills, regulations, licences and legislation etc. and highlights other sources of information and advice available.

Business Opportunity Profiles (BOP) 

Advertising Agency  BOP480 

Business Information Fact Sheets (BIF)

The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct and Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code)  BIF073 

Sources of Business Information (SOU)

Advertising Association; SOU130
Advertising Standards Authority SOU056
Committees of Advertising Practice SOU085
Internet Advertising Bureau; SOU477
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising; SOU1064

Sector Guide (SEC)

Advertising and Marketing SEC009 

Small Business Help Books 

This is a collection of books located in the Business & IP Centre with practical information aimed at those starting and running a business. The books listed below can be found in the Small Business Help section under the Business Topics category.

Spending Advertising Money in the Digital Age: How to Navigate the Media Flow by Hamish Pringle (Kogan Page, 2011) [SBH.MSM.105] 
Has contributions from leading figures in the media industry and contains examples of top campaigns with demonstrable results in the marketplace. 

Copywriting: successful writing for design, advertising and marketing by Mark Shaw (Lawrence King, 2009) [SBH. PDIP.13] 

Successful Copywriting in a Week by Robert Ashton (Teach Yourself Books, 2012) [SBH. STAR.87]

Return of the Hustle by Eric Sheinkop (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) [SBH.MSM.87] 

Dictionary of Advertising and Marketing Concepts by Arthur Asa Berger (Left Coast Press, 2013) [SBH MSM.144]

Mobile Marketing: how mobile technology is revolutionizing marketing, communications and advertising by Daniel Rowles (Kogan Page, 2017)

Creative Direction in a Digital World: a guide to being a modern creative director by Adam Harrell (CRC Press, 2016) [SBH. MSM.35]

Communications writing and design: the integrated manual for marketing, advertising, and public relations by John DiMarco (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2017) [SBH. MSM.31]

Advertising: what everyone needs to know by Mara Einstein (Oxford University Press, 2017) [SBH.MSM16]

Market Research & Statistics 

If you are planning on starting a business you will need to be aware of the latest trends, developments and opportunities within your industry which can all be found from market research.

Market research also covers market size and forecasts, consumer demographics and attitudes, the key players and products and will often include SWOT and PEST analysis showing areas of strength, weakness, opportunities etc.

eMarketer logo

(selection of UK-related titles published in July-2020-January 2021 - accessible via electronic databases)

  • In the UK programmatic landscape, private marketplaces prosper and open exchanges stall (Jan 29, 2021)
  • UK Programmatic Digital Display Advertising Outlook 2021: Pandemic Accelerates Trend Toward Advertiser Control (Jan 22, 2021)
  • Spotify takes its proprietary ad tech global (Jan 22, 2021)
  • UK traditional media spending will fall by a quarter this year, a bigger decline than total media spend (Dec 17, 2020)
  • How Total Media Ad Spend Will Shake Out Around the World (Oct 28, 2020)
  • Programmatic Ad Spending, UK (Oct 21, 2020)
  • Attitude Toward Digital Advertising Among UK Internet Users Ages 55-75, Aug 2020 (% of respondents) (Oct 19, 2020)
  • Ways in Which UK Internet Users Ages 55-75 Choose Which Brands to Purchase Digitally, Aug 2020 (% of respondents) (Oct 19, 2020)
  • Types of Media UK Advertising Senior Executives Believe Are Developing the Most Innovative Opportunities for Advertisers, Aug 2020 (% of respondents) (Oct 15, 2020)
  • The Problem of Consumer Consent in Marketing (Oct 7, 2020)
  • Programmatic Ad Spending, UK (Oct 1, 2020)
  • Channel Most Likely to Lead to a Purchase According to Internet Users in Germany, the UK, and the US, Sep 2020 (% of respondents) (Sep 30, 2020)
  • UK Digital Ad Spending by Industry 2020 (Sep 24, 2020)
  • Identity 2020: Changes to Cookies, Ad IDs, and Regulations Take Aim at Tracking (Sep 22, 2020)
  • App Monetization Trends 2020 (Sep 15, 2020)
  • Influencer Marketing in the Age of COVID-19 (Aug 24, 2020)
  • Have Small-Business Owners in Select Countries Changed the Budget Allocated to Building Their Business' Digital Presence due to the Coronavirus Pandemic? (Aug 19, 2020)
  • UK Digital Trends by Generation 2020 (Jul 28, 2020)
  • UK Digital Advertising Stays Afloat Thanks to Digital Video Ad Spending (Jul 20, 2020)
  • Social Media Update Q2 2020 (Jul 13, 2020)
  • UK: Sharp Declines Across Traditional Media Will Drag Total Ad Spend Down by 7.5% in 2020 (Jul 7, 2020)
  • Global Digital Ad Spending Update Q2 2020 (Jul 6, 2020)
  • How We've Changed Our Forecast of UK Traditional Ad Spending, 2019-2024 (billions of £) (Jul 1, 2020)

IBISWorld logo

  • Advertising Agencies in the UK - Market Research Report (November 2020). Provides figures for overall size and annual growth of the industry, and market share of the major companies.
  • Digital Advertising Agencies in the UK - Market Research Report (December 2020). Provides figures for industry performance, competitive landscape, major companies, operating conditions. 

Mintel logo

Accessible via electronic databases

  • Digital Advertising UK (September 2020) 

In addition, most Mintel reports have a subsection “Advertising and Marketing Activity”.

Printed Market Research Reports

(Please ask for help in finding these)

Advertising Expenditure Forecasts (Zenith Optimedia, 2019) [(B) MKT 659.1 BUS]
Provides global and regional summaries in addition to forecasts for 80 individual countries worldwide. 

Mobile Advertising Forecasts (Zenith Optimedia, 2017) [(B) MKT 338.4765914]
Contains tables forecasting advertising figures up to 2019 for 65 countries.

Advertising & Marketing : in 19 jurisdictions worldwide. (Law Business Research, Ltd., annual) [(B) MKT 343.082]
Summarises current laws and regulations relevant to advertising.

Business News & Journals

In order to find the latest news on your topic it is always worth searching Factiva, Business Source Complete and EMIS.

You will find articles from specialist business and academic journals, as well as newspapers and magazines. You may also find market research reports and case studies. As well as profiles of leading industry figures.

You will also find articles covering recent developments, and predicting future trends in your industry.

Trade Magazines and Newsletters

Useful for gaining inside knowledge, recent trends, industry news, company profiles, reviews of new products and services. Some contain annual reviews and company contact lists. Ordered via Explore the British Library (please ask for help).

Bellwether Report: IPA quarterly survey of marketing expenditure (Markit Economics, quarterly) [(P) AQ 93-E(29)], monitors marketing, advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing expenditure in the UK.

(Haymarket Business Media, bimonthly) [(P) AQ 93-E (8)]
News, features, awards and appointments information for the United Kingdom advertising industry. 


Contain lists of companies and industry contacts. Some have annual industry reviews, and specialist articles. Included here are directories that have been published from 2014 onwards. Earlier directories may also be found on open shelves in the Directories section of the Business & IP Centre.

The Directory of Advertising, Branding, Creative and Digital Agencies in Healthcare (PM Group, 2017) [(B) DIR 659.19615102541]
Aimed specifically at clients in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. With detailed profiles for 26 agencies, plus an A – Z index of 100 agencies.

Overseas Media Guide 2019 52nd Edition
(London: Overseas Press & Media Association) [(B) DIR 659.13]
Provides an indispensable guide for anyone planning or placing overseas advertising. 

A List: A guide to who's who in media, marketing and advertising
(Haymarket Management Publications, 2019) [(B) DIR 659.0922], contains brief biographical profiles of over 300 individuals in the advertising industry.

Internet Sources

Websites containing free sources of industry statistics, information and contacts.

Ad Forum 

Resources for the worldwide advertising community. 

Advertising Age

Marketing and advertising news and analysis from the USA and the rest of the world. Includes profiles of the top 100 advertisers in the US and profiles of the world's top 30 agencies. 

Advertising Association

Federation of 30 trade bodies representing the advertising and promotional marketing industries including advertisers, agencies, media and support services. 

Advertising Standards Authority 

An independent, self-regulatory body for non-broadcast advertisements in the UK ensuring that advertisements are legal, decent, honest and truthful. 

The History of Advertising Trust 

Contains some two million items of advertising, marketing, media, public relations and related material, together with a supporting library of books and periodicals. The oldest material is the archive of R.F.White (c.1800), the UK's first ad agency; the newest is last month's TV commercials. 

Incorporated Society of British Advertisers

Represents the interests of UK advertisers in all areas of marketing communications, including TV advertising, new media, press, radio, outdoor, direct marketing, sponsorship and sales promotion. 

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising 

Trade body and professional institute for leading agencies in the UK's advertising, media and marketing communications industry. 

Office of Communications (OFCOM) 

OFCOM is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. OFCOM frequently publishes research on broadcast advertising matters. 

Please note that every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however some recently acquired items may since have been added to the collection. Please ask for help at the enquiry desk or check the online catalogue Explore the British Library for more details.

Images by Ibragenius, Richard Cocks, Ballistik Coffee Boy under a Creative Commons license