The Rise of Mobile Ad Spend

The Rise of Mobile Ad Spend.

February 10th, 2018

The third quarter of 2017 saw a historic moment as ad spend on mobile platforms overtook TV spend for the first time. Accounting for around 25% of the total ad spend, mobile spending surged 31% from 2016’s £1.3 billion to £5.4 billion. And this incredible increase is only set to rise in the future.

As smartphones and tablets become increasingly present in households across the world, marketers are unsurprisingly investing more into reaching a mobile audience. In fact, 69.9% of the total digital advertising spend this year was down to mobile advertising alone.

Now, whether they are at home, on the go or at work, consumers are being exposed to adverts at times when traditional methods are not available. And, as a result, brands are building stronger connections with customers and maximising their touchpoints.

Versatile and Adaptive Advertising

One of the biggest reasons for mobile advertising’s success is its multi-faceted approach. Where television is exclusively display advertising, mobile can employ messaging, search, and display. Display advertising on mobile is much more fluid than television, allowing for the use of banners, pop-up ads, and other interstitial spaces. This provides businesses with the opportunity to find the perfect advert placement for their target audience. Whether it be on a web page, within an application or a text message, they now have an array of opportunities to deliver a well-placed advert.

Video adverts are great an example of this. As one of the most engaging advertising formats, mobile introduces video adverts in the least intrusive way possible. For example, games and apps often use video ads to either continue to engage the user or promote a product in return for a ‘reward’ or gaming credit. This is an clever tactic that directs users aways from the feeling that adverts wasting their time, but rather useful and entertaining.

So whether it is through SMS messaging, video, banners, pop-ups or an array of paid social media adverts, the possibility to advertise to an mobile audience are now endless. Businesses can now enrich their marketing strategies and try different ways of advertising that help them to reach the right customers at the right time.

Adapting to Changing Habits at Home and Work

Another major factor behind mobile’s success is the fact most of us are spending more time on our phones than ever before. According to Deloitte, more than half of the UK’s mobile users look at their smartphones even whilst walking, providing advertisers with the opportunity to reach their audience on the go as well as at home or work. Furthermore, geolocation on phones provides advertisers the opportunity to present convenient, relevant adverts to users on the move.

An example of this more mobile-focused advertising can be seen with a simple search for restaurants. Smartphones use a GPS to find the most convenient and best rated restaurants in the immediate vicinity. This combination of information requests on the move with more focused areas of interest mean more exposure to advertising and a greater focus on the needs of the user.

Adding The Personalised Touch

In an increasingly competitive world, either retaining or attracting new customers can be a challenge. But, for many marketers, personalisation is fast becoming an effective a solution. With the ability to use data about how their customers use their phones, brands can now deliver personalised ads that directly relate to specific needs and behaviours.

In the UK alone, 85% of people aged between 16 and 75 own a smartphone. This totals a staggering 41 million people. But this means each and every person has their own screen, tailored to their wants and needs. Users are becoming ever more bespoke, curating their information to limit what they see online. Advertisers can target and fine-tune mobile ads to become more focused, ostensibly leading to greater conversions and click through rates.

Search engines, e-commerce sites, and websites can all gather users’ data to fine tune what and to whom they show certain products or services.

Television and print by comparison, still relies on delivering generalised adverts en masse which can not only be hard to measure, but unrelatable for many.

Riding the Wave of Social Media

All this success is in no small part due to the popularity of social media. From Twitter, to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, advertisers have a wealth of information, trends, and needs to interpret for better conversions. Compared to the general blast of a television advert, mobile adverts can garner social media information to pinpoint the user’s needs and desires.

Additionally, reports have calculated that on average, we will spend five years and four months of our lives on social media. For some teenages, currently spending more than 2 hours a day on popular social platforms, this will be significantly more.

Therefore, with more time being spent in front of a mobile screen than a TV, mobile advertising enables brands to maximise their exposure to customers on a daily basis. Combining this regular exposure with personalised adverts, brand now have a much higher chance of receiving better engagement and turning both mobile and social platforms into a valuable revenue stream.

With mobile and social media usage on the rise this trend seems set to rise to new heights. However, Rocco B. Commisso, the CEO at MediaCom, provides some much-needed tempering to this raging fire stating;


"…harnessing mobile for the sake of mobile is not, and never will be, the right approach; for any ad campaign to succeed it must be made with thought, care and the right target audience in mind."

Mobile spend is certainly an important aspect of advertising campaigns but still only a tool. Without the proper research and care any tool, no matter how effective, will fall flat. A good advertising campaign continues to be a solid framework with market research the foundations.

With mobile becoming more popular and handheld devices becoming more powerful it is only a matter of time before mobile ads become the mainstay of business across the globe. Although advertisers will continue to connect with consumers through a number of different platforms, mobile ad spending looks set to further increase its importance as a lucrative advertising opportunity.

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