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Are brands missing a trick with mobile?

By Dave Katz

It has been reported recently that consumer spend via mobile is on the increase this Christmas. Further confirmation has come from research indicating that 20 percent of the expected $7.4 billion of total online shopping will be carried out using smartphones and tablets, according to Telefonica.

If consumers want to browse, research and purchase via mobile, then is it not something of a surprise that only 7 percent of ad spend in Britain currently goes on mobile, per IMRG? Is that not the best channel for brands to be communicating through?

Stats speak
The statistics above not only demonstrate how we have progressed in terms of technological growth and how we interact with brands digitally as part of our everyday lives. But they also hide the massive disparity between the investment in time from consumers on mobile device versus the money spent by brands in that same space. 

Shopping on mobile has doubled in two years ? almost 40 percent of the British population has now shopped on a mobile at some point, according to IMRG. However the percentage of total online ad spend on mobile devices remains at around 1 percent.

It poses the question, are brands and agencies still underestimating the power of mobile?

The basic theory of advertising is that brands seek to be placed in front of their audiences, whilst maintaining as positive an ROI as possible. Therefore, if an entire medium is under-valued, there is clearly a huge amount to be made by advertisers that over-invest in that medium, ahead of their direct competitors.

This year in Britain, 16 percent of all search queries were made via mobile, a growth rate of 60 percent since 2011, per Ofcom. This growth rate will have probably doubled by 2013, and many brands could have missed out on an obvious and rewarding mobile advertising strategy.

Tool fit
Those that choose to ignore the growth of this medium, in a sense have failed to understand what the customer wants.

We are not stating here that mobile is the number one digital marketing channel. Quite the contrary ? you need a lot more tools in the toolbox to achieve the objectives of a competitive retail brand these days.

It is worth considering how prominent a part of your marketing mix mobile currently is.  If it is no part at all, then there is a clear opportunity. 

It is likely that your competitors are also not overly active in mobile either, so you have got time to steal a march on them. 

It is also worth considering that about 40 percent of all Facebook page impressions in Britain are now on mobile, so if you can find a Facebook specialist that is also a mobile specialist then there is an enormous opportunity to make hay right now, whilst the sun is shining. If nothing else, you might find that Santa leaves you an extra present under the tree this year.

Dave Katz is managing director of Ybrant Digital UK, London. Reach him at