UK mobile ad spend passed £1bn mark for first time last year

UK advertisers invested an average of £1 in every £6 they spent on digital advertising in mobile last year as spend on mobile ads passed the £1bn mark for the first time in 2013. 

Trade bodies are mounting separate charges to minimise errors in campaign reporting on mobile devices.

The annual report from the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that ad spend on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets almost doubled (93 per cent) to £1.03bn last year, accounting 16 per cent of the digital ad market, up from 10 per cent in 2012.

That is higher than the global figure, with the latest numbers from ZenithOptimedia showing that mobile ad spend accounted for 13 per cent of the digital ad market worldwide, at $13.4bn worldwide. It predicts that by 2016 mobile will account for $45bn, or 28%, of digital ad spend.

The UK mobile figure was boosted by social media, which now accounts for almost a quarter (£221.8m) of mobile spend. Overall, social media advertising grew 71 per cent to £588.4m.

Dan Bunyan, PwC manager, says: “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.

“Almost half of mobile ad spend is accounted for by TVs biggest advertiser categories – consumer goods and entertainment brands – which is testament to how important mobile has become for brands.”

Tablets saw the biggest growth, with dedicated spend for the devices up 400 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012. However, the report cautions that the industry “still has a lot of work to do” as tablet ad spend remains a “small part of the pie”

This despite the fact that more than a third of people (36 per cent) access the internet via tablets and that among tablet owners, 57 per cent describe it as their “go-to device”.

Overall, the digital ad market in the UK increased by 15.2 per cent in 2013 to £6.3bn. Beyond mobile, video saw the biggest growth at 62 per cent, ahead of display and paid-for search marketing on 18 per cent 14 per cent respectively.

Globally, ZenithOptimedia estimates that internet ad spend accounted for nearly a quarter of the total market last year, with spend hitting $104.2bn.

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