Mobile ad spend hits £36.7m

Mobile ad spend rose by 32% between 2008 and 2009 with brands from the entertainment, media and telecoms sectors spending the largest amounts on the medium according to the latest figures from the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The report said mobile ad spend in the UK rose to £36.7m despite a contraction in the wider advertising market. The total spent on mobile advertising in the previous year was £28.6m.

The report also showed mobile ad figures grew consistently quarter-on-quarter throughout 2009.

Entertainment & media companies contributed 61.5% of all mobile ad revenues and traditional telecoms companies contributing 14.7% in 2009.

Search now accounts for 54% (£20.2m) of all mobile ad spend after a 41% year-on-year rise. Mobile display advertising peaked at £5.5m in the final quarter of 2009 – representing a 28% quarterly rise and totalled £17.4 million throughout the year.

Jon Mew, head of mobile at the IAB, told New Media Age that the growth in mobile advertising in the context of a downturn in the wider advertising market was unexpected.

“The growth was better than we had hoped for. The first thing you expect to be cut from advertising budgets [during an economic downturn] are experimental things such as mobile.” 

Alex Rahaman, head of mobile at ad sales house Unanimis, said that media and entertainment companies contributed so much to the overall figure because the definition included a broader number of companies, such as ringtone providers, mobile video providers and games.

“I think that mobile gaming would have driven that a lot,” Rahaman said.

Paul Constantine, MD at media agency Zed Group, highlighted that the growth in mobile advertising was to be expected but added that the figures were growing from a low base.

“I thought that it possibly would have been a bit higher,” he said.

The burgeoning mobile ad market has been under increased focus in recent months following significant moves by major companies including Google and Apple.

Google is hoping to ramp up its mobile ad offering through the $750m (£467m) purchase of mobile ad network AdMob, subject to a possible anti-trust challenge from the US government, while Apple launched its own mobile ad platform, iAd, earlier this month ( 9 April 2010).

This story first appeared on New Media Age.

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