UK mobile ad spend surpasses TV for the first time
- About 25% of ad spending in the U.K. went to mobile platforms in Q3 2017, exceeding TV spend for the first time, according to new data from WARC. TV is still the biggest channel for display advertising alone, while mobile spending includes display, search and messaging formats.
- Mobile ad spend surged 31% to 1.3 billion pounds ($1.84 billion) from a year earlier, surpassing total ad market growth of 3.5% to 5.4 billion pounds. The report predicts a 2.8% gain for U.K. advertising spending in 2018.
- Most mobile display ad spending went to social networks with a 45% jump, per the report. News brands saw a 22% increase in digital revenue during the period, but that wasn't enough to offset print losses. Direct mail spending climbed 5.9%, the strongest gain in six and a half years.
The massive shift in U.K. ad spending to mobile platforms reflects the pervasiveness of smartphones in the country. Eighty-five percent of people ages 16 to 75 own a smartphone — 41 million people in the country — according to a September study by Deloitte. More than half (58%) of smartphone owners watch at least one form of video content on their smartphones every week, compared with 18% in 2012.
That shift in viewing habits means that brands need to consider innovative ways to get their message across to viewers, many of whom consume media content while multitasking. More than half (53%) of U.K. mobile users check their smartphones while walking, Deloitte found. That means cellular providers, social media apps and advertisers have an opportunity to improve geofenced targeting through mobile devices while also being mindful of users' privacy.
Mobile video consumption is forecast to be a major driver of growth this year as audiences shift their viewing habits toward mobile. About one-fifth (17%) of smartphone owners said they watch short videos, live posts and stories daily, Deloitte found. For younger audiences, mobile video consumption is even higher. More than half of people ages 16 to 19 watch short-form videos on smartphones at least daily. One-fifth of teens watch longer video content such as films and TV shows daily.
About three out of four marketers plan to increase their mobile ad budgets in 2018, while about one-third are expecting an increase of 15% or more, according to Forrester and the Mobile Marketing Association. This trend matches the researcher's forecast that marketers will increasingly produce ads specific to mobile-first, with 44% currently creating all digital ad assets specifically for on-the-go viewing on smaller screens, highlighting a major area of opportunity for marketers.
"Yet, 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," Rocco B. Commisso, CEO at MediaCom, said in a statement about WARC's latest figures.