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Mobile advertising spend more than doubles to £203m in 2011, as brands invest in display ads around apps growth, says IAB

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Advertising on mobile devices rocketed by 157% in 2011, to a new high of £203.2 million, according to the annual IAB and PwC mobile advertising spend study, sparked by a boom in smartphone and tablet ownership, apps, second screening and cheaper data.

With smartphone ownership standing at 53% of the UK population, the proliferation of touchscreen technology, 3G, and soaring tablet sales have sparked a surge in interest from brands, especially in the Retail and Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors, says the study.

The rapid take up of apps and social media, fuelled in part by cheaper data tariffs, has created a new generation of “dual” and “triple screeners” – 51% of Britons now watch TV while surfing the internet using tablets, phones or laptops.

In response, advertisers are creating ever more engaging and interactive rich media ads – turning to apps, video and new formats to engage and enhance the mobile experience.

Mainstream advertisers are now taking a larger share of spend with Technology, Retail and FMCG performing particularly well.

Advertisers have recognised the rise of apps, with 54% of display advertising now on apps; while 46% of display advertising spend is on browser inventory. Display advertising on mobiles more than doubled year on year, increasing by 186% to £68.9 million (£28.1million in 2010) and a market share of 34% (34% in 2010). In 2008 display advertising on mobiles was worth £14.2 million, so the format has risen fivefold in three years.

As the medium matures, growth has been driven largely by standard display formats, such as banners and text links, which were up 196% to £59.4 million. However, the category including SMS and MMS advertising grew by 241% to £7.6 million (£2.5 million in 2010). Mobile video advertising (pre / post-roll) increased rapidly to £0.8 million (£0.2 million in 2010) as brand advertisers invest in new rich media formats.

Mobile search was up 145% to £134.3 million (£54.9 million in 2010) and a market share of 66% (66% in 2010). In 2008, search was worth £14.4 million, so has grown by nearly tenfold in three years.

Although only launched in 2010, tablets are now an everyday device with more than 4.1 million Britons owning one. As a consequence, the IAB has measured tablet-specific advertising for the first time and found that £2.4 million was spent in 2011.

Jon Mew, director of mobile and operations at the IAB, explains: “This study proves just how engrained mobile has become within both brands’ and consumers’ day to day lives. With 26 million smartphone owners now in the UK – the opportunities for brands to interact with consumers in a more innovative and relevant way are endless. So it’s no surprise to see mobile advertising continuing to grow at such an overwhelming and encouraging rate.’’

Anna Bartz, strategy manager at PwC, adds: “Mobile advertising is gaining momentum – with growing opportunities to target consumers with a range of innovative formats, on the web and in mobile applications. The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets means mobile is offering a compelling new way for brands and advertisers across all sectors to reach people, making it an increasingly powerful platform in multi-media strategies.”


Mobile and social behaviour

● 58% (28.6 million) of Britons access online content via apps or mobile internet each month (comScore, Jan 2012).

● Smartphone users have the TV on 35% of the time when they are using their phone, 51% of the time when they are using their tablets and 33% of the time when they use their PC (Three Device Lives, IAB, Dec 2011)

● 38% (18.8 million) of the UK mobile audience accessed social media via a device in the three months up to January 2012, an increase of 35.6% year on year (comScore Jan 2012).


● Touchscreens have revolutionised advertising as 27% of respondents claim they are more likely to interact with ads because they have a touchscreen (Three Device Lives, IAB, Dec 2011).

● Rich media increases cut through – people exposed to expandable banner ads are 25% more likely to remember the advertising than those who see static banners (Mobile Ad Effectiveness, IAB, Aug 2011).


● 24% of UK mobile phone owners have bought a product or service via their device. (IAB M-commerce study, August, 2011)

● 38% of respondents use their smartphone in-store. Of this group, 55% conducted an internet search in-store (Mobile Online Journey Observation, IAB, Jan 2012).

Advertisers/agencies are no longer experimenting

● 90% of agencies feel mobile will be the fastest growing media for the next five years and search will be influential (Mobile Snapshot, IAB, Nov 2011).

● 98% of agencies are spending money on mobile advertising (Mobile Snapshot, IAB, Nov 2011).

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