UK Mobile Ad Spend to hit £1bn in 2013

The sky-rocketing growth in mobile advertising continues apace as the UK market alone grows from just £526m in 2012 to over £1bn this year, an increase of 90%, as digital advertisers go hunting for consumers across smartphone and tablet devices.

The digital ad spend figures, released by eMarketer earlier this week are not only a reflection of Britain’s love-affair with smartphones – the UK has the highest smartphone usage in the world – but the figures also mirror Facebook’s own experiences with mobile advertising which has seen a 25% year-on-year growth. UK Mobile ad spend is estimated to earn the social media giant around £140m mobile this year. Looking further aheadeMarketer estimates that spend on digital advertising will hit £8.4bn by 2017 with spend on mobile ads accounting for around £3bn of that.

Whilst these figures may appear heady, if anything they could certainly in the medium term, be shown to be overly conservative. As consumers spend more time using their mobile devices not only to browse, but to make transactions, this will in turn attract ever increasing hordes of mobile advertisers.

So why will consumers spend more time on their mobile devices? Firstly connection speeds are improving. The much heralded 4G is already a reality with EE becoming the first UK mobile network to start selling 4G smartphones. With faster and more reliable connection consumers will also start making more use of video – in particular we can expect fast growth in video advertising.

With more and more users owning a tablet, and starting to use these as their primary surfing device that’s more consumer hours, more eyeballs, more impressions and more clicks.

But just as important as growing the mobile audience is ensuring that ads are relevant to the end consumer. As with “traditional” online advertising specialist mobile ad targeting technology needs to be rolled out, and the creative needs to improve as well. Consumers may use their mobile devices differently than they do their desktops – and the creative needs to reflect this. It’s simply not just a case of taking an online campaign and applying this to a mobile ad campaign – one size does not fit all.

With the proliferation of traffic coming from mobile ad-networks there’s likely to be a bountiful supply of mobile ad inventory. But as with any media buying campaign the real test for mobile advertising will be whether or not it delivers a return on investment for brand owners. Mobile advertisers will need to be careful to avoid the fraudulent traffic sellers – TrafficCake for example helps audit media buying campaigns – and just as importantly optimising campaigns.

Perhaps the ultimate goal for advertisers, and one which is looking increasingly attainable, is tracking consumers across multiple devices. Being able to seamlessly pinpoint and target individual consumers as they move from a desktop to a mobile device and back again makes mobile advertising a powerful strand in a multichannel campaign, rather than a standalone effort.

James Barnes,

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