Inattention a threat as mobile ad spend rockets

By Chris Lee

Mobile ad spend doubled as advertisers spent a record £6.3 billion on digital ads during 2013, according to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) Digital Adspend report, conducted by PwC.

Added to this, more than a third (36 per cent) of people accessing the Internet now do so via tablets, according to UKOM/comScore, as tablet ownership grew 63 per cent year-on-year from 11 million to 17.9 million Britons in February 2014. Due to the proliferation of new devices, two-thirds of people online now access the Internet using a PC/laptop and one other device – such as a smartphone or tablet – with more than half (57 per cent) saying their tablet is their ‘go-to’ device to access the Web at home.

The mobile opportunity

Mobile now accounts for 16 per cent of all digital advertising spend – £1 in every £6 – compared to 10 per cent in 2012, the IAB reports.

According to PwC’s Dan Bunyan, mobile’s huge rise is down to advertisers taking advantage of key developments in the way people use their mobile devices – particularly social media platforms.

“Mobile is now more of a story-telling tool for advertisers rather than just an information device,” he said. “Almost half of mobile ad spend is accounted for by TV’s biggest advertiser categories – consumer goods and entertainment brands – which is testament to how important mobile has become for brands.”

The mobile threat

Given the rapid growth of tablet ownership among the British population and leaps in mobile Internet connectivity, it is no surprise that advertisers are flocking to mobile, but at the same time mobile presents new challenges, argues Jason Froggett, founder of incentivised video advertising startup, Adpoints.

“[Mobile is] helping [advertisers] to get their content into the hands of thousands of consumers at any given time. But can advertisers be absolutely sure that their mobile ads are being seen?” he asked.

“Take video as an example: It’s now common for people to play around on their iPad whilst watching TV, but with the ability to skip ads and their attention split, advertisers are losing out to inattention,” Froggett told NMK. “The contract between brands and consumers is fundamentally changing; 15 years ago people used to enjoy advertising, but now it’s becoming increasingly seen as an intrusion and ad avoidance tactics have rocketed.”

Froggett warns that brands need to look for new ways of reaching people via mobile advertising, in a way that is both relevant and advantageous to the consumer.

“Only this will make sure that people aren’t bombarded with messages when they don’t want them,” he concluded. “Otherwise, consumers’ avoidance will only worsen as advertising vigilantes find new tactics to avoid ads detracting from the true value of mobile advertising.”  

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