Mobile ad spend in the UK will reach almost £7bn in 2017, representing more than a third of media investment according to eMarketer's latest forecast.
The estimates, which are based on data from media companies and other quantitative and qualitative research like interviews with publishing executives, follow on from a recent IAB UK report which charted how mobile outstripped desktop in 2016.
The research predicts that overall digital ad spend in the UK spend will grow 11% in 2017 to reach £10.9bn with mobile driving the boost as customers increasingly spend time glued to their smartphones.
In the lead up to the digital tipping point last year, mobile ad outlays soared by 49.5% to £5.4bn with analysts estimating the figure will rise to £6.9bn this year and then £11.1bn in 2020.
The figures come as Sir Martin Sorrell said mobile was "a multi-billion dollar opportunity that is still untapped." The WPP boss believes that despite years of promise, mobile advertising has still not developed in to a full-fledged medium, because inadequate technology is causing advertisers to hold back on spending.
“People are spending about a quarter of their time on mobile, and yet it only accounts for around 12% of spending,” he said. “That’s out of kilter and it has to change.”
In terms of wider digital ad budgets, eMarketer predicts that Google will continue to take the lion's share in 2017, raking in 40.7%. Facebook will take a 16.4% slice at £1.8bn - up by almost £5bn year-on-year thanks to investments in video and increasing brand interest in Instagram.