The Future of Mobile

Mobile the driving factor as UK ad spend reaches record high

Tyrone Stewart

British money poundsUK mobile ad spend grew 30.7 percent year-on-year (YoY) in Q3 2017, helping overall UK ad spend to rise by 3.5 per cent to a record high £5.4bn.

According to the latest expenditure report from the Advertising Association and Warc, Q3 2017 represented the 17th consecutive quarter of market growth, and supports preliminary estimates that £22.1bn was spent across the whole of 2017.

Nearly one in every four pounds spent on advertising during the third quarter was spent on mobile, putting preliminary forecasts for 2017 for mobile alone at above £5bn, most of which is being invested in video ads on social media. Growth within the internet as a whole was up 9.9 per cent YoY in Q3 2017.

What the industry says

Michael Todd, head of advertising industry relations at Google UK
“The meteoric rise in mobile spend, increasing by 30 per cent YoY and now accounting for almost one in four pounds spent on advertising in the third quarter of 2017, is a demonstration of the marketing industry’s ability to adapt and move to where the consumer spends their time. With people in the UK spending 2 hours on their smartphone each day – and with this figure increasing year on year, smart marketers will continue to invest in mobile.

“The ongoing success of the digital advertising marketplace is a credit to the strength of the UK’s ad industry in a time when an uncertain economic climate is putting pressure on marketer’s budgets and leading to an increased focus on the return for every pound spent. Going forwards, I expect to see investment in mobile increase and marketing departments to continue to devote a high volume of creativity, talent, and digital expertise to this area.”

Andrew Morsy, MD UK at Sizmek
“Warc’s latest figures show mobile accounting for a large part of the increased ad spend in the UK and, for the first time, this has outgrown TV expenditure. This is encouraging for both advertisers and brands, who are continuing to see mobile as not just a profitable investment, but as a safe and secure way to deliver their message.

“Now there is massive opportunity for mobile advertising. Given the oceans of data available for advertisers, including consumer location, ads can be more creative, relevant and meaningful. We’ll continue to see a push into mobile advertising particularly when it comes to video this year, with shorter creative and a snappier approach to the way people like to consume content.

“With the right combination of media placement and creative, I’ve no doubt that mobile will continue to push the boundaries of smart and relevant advertising, giving consumers content they actually want to see and engage with.”

Chris Duncan, MD at Times Newspapers
“The results show a continued faith from British business that marketing investment can grow their revenues. Increased spending in mobile is expected, but must also recognise that social media pricing has increased by up to 35 per cent YoY and may be driving that. Diversification of media spend into other supporting channels suggests CMOs are looking harder at the mix of spend required, which is welcome news for any media owner that delivers a valuable audience in a brand safe context”

Jodie Stranger, CEO UK group and president global clients EMEA at Starcom
“2017 was a year of uncertainty and rapid change, however, despite the cautious tones which were raised in the industry - it's fantastic to see that UK advertising spend reached a record high at the end of last year.

“With the projection for total market growth in 2018 being 2.8 per cent, we're excited for the year ahead for our clients. This growth shows consumers remain confident in brand's marketing, even during economic ambiguity. 

 “It's been the ‘year of mobile’ for years, however, as mobile ad spend rose 30.7 per cent YoY – could this become reality for 2018?

“Mobile's strong performance was sustained by the 44.7 per cent rise in social media advertising, which is not surprising as a 2017 study estimated that we tap, swipe and click on our devices 2,617 times a day.”

Greg Grimmer, COO at Fetch
“A year of politico-economic nervousness and soaring stock markets was always going to be a tricky one to predict advertising expenditure.

“Any media fool (and there are plenty) could have predicted the continued fast growth of mobile, perhaps less easy to predict is the longer-term effect of the brand safety / tracking backlash aimed at the dynamic duo of Google and Facebook. I personally think any effect will be negligible and outweighed by more positive factors of marketing success. But the report does continues to highlight the fact that digital ad expenditure will benefit broadcaster and publisher brands, as well as the digital pure play.”

Josh Krichefski, CEO at MediaCom
“Audiences across all demographics now want to view what they want, when they want and mobile is rapidly becoming the platform that allows them to do just that. In the UK alone, well over three quarters (85 per cent) of 16 to 75-year olds own a smartphone. That is clearly a huge opportunity for brands to connect to a powerful audience – brands who use data well and execute smart campaigns based on that are able to engage an audience with tailored content that builds a personal relationship and ultimately leads to them buying from, or at least being more aware of, that company or product.

“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. The key lies in remembering that consumers love mobile content because it’s easy to access and view. Mobile ads can take advantage of that, but they cannot allow it to be a reason to spam consumers - the audience will expect and demand an unforgettable experience, but if they see an ad ‘blocking’ the content they want to view, all that ad spend will be completely wasted.”