- Marketers have tempered their expectations for growth in the U.K. mobile advertising market as the coronavirus pandemic weighs on their budgets. The percentage of marketers who expect their mobile budgets to rise in the region dropped to 31% since the pandemic's outset from 56% before the health crisis, per a yearly report shared by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and researcher WARC.
- The reduced estimates follow a period of strong growth, with the portion of marketers who allocate more than a quarter of their budgets to mobile campaigns in the U.K. more than doubling to 43% in the past three years, WARC and the MMA found.
- The portion of marketers who consider mobile devices as an effective marketing channel this year also fell to 79% from 86% in 2019, leaving a higher percentage of professionals who consider mobile devices as ineffective. The study's most recent findings are based on a survey of more than 90 marketing professionals in the U.K. in April and May.
U.K. marketers have become less optimistic about mobile ad growth, which is understandable as the global economy recovers from the negative effects of the pandemic. The ongoing health crisis has ultimately thrown some cold water on a region that previously showed a strong upward trajectory in this category, even as engagement with ad-supported mobile channels remains steady — and even surges — among consumers spending more time at home.
However, there are reasons for optimism as mobile marketing demonstrates its effectiveness at reaching highly engaged consumers who depend on their smartphones for a wider range of activities. Mobile's resilience as a marketing channel will set the stage for a return to growth as economic activity again picks up, MMA and WARC's findings suggest.
The report includes several insights about the mobile strategies for marketers, including key priorities for their media budgets. Almost a third (31%) of marketers are prioritizing mobile video and social media to reach audiences who have increased their consumption of digital media. Marketers are allocating an average of 36% of their budgets to social media and 20% to mobile video, the survey found. Mobile video is likely to grow even further with the expansion of next-generation 5G networks that speed up downloads of richer content.
On the other hand, the research highlights some areas for improvement, including better metrics to evaluate mobile campaigns. Almost half (48%) of survey respondents said mobile ad metrics are the biggest hindrance to growth. The portion of marketers who use behavioral metrics fell to 53% this year from 66% in 2018.
The dissatisfaction with measurement may be fueling skepticism about mobile marketing. The portion of marketers who consider mobile devices as an effective marketing channel this year fell to 79% from 86% in 2019, leaving a higher percentage of professionals who consider mobile devices as ineffective, the study found.