How mobile is steadily moving towards its deserved role at the heart of every media plan

The latest IAB/PwC adspend numbers have recently landed, and they continue to demonstrate that the advertising industry is catching up with the consumer, and brands and agencies are committing serious budgets to mobile advertising.

Digging into the IAB numbers, whilst display is leading the way overall in terms of digital growth with almost 25 per cent YoY growth (calculated on an absolute basis), desktop display actually only grew by 7.4 per cent, whilst mobile display grew by almost 82 per cent (and that’s excluding tablet display).

Extrapolating the trends that we are seeing in mobile display, plus also in programmatic display, it’s not unrealistic for us to be looking at over £1 in every £9 of total adspend going towards mobile programmatic display by 2018!

There are a number of drivers that we believe are coming together to create this opportunity – and interestingly all of these drivers complement each other, making the opportunity for brands and agencies on mobile programmatic something that they cannot afford to ignore:

  • The most obvious trend is that of consumers and the velocity at which mobile devices have become the predominant media channel. Millward Brown put mobile and tablet at 47 per cent of our media time, whilst TV and desktop sit at around 25 per cent each. And they also measure mobile as being the most used device at all times of the day. This trend is only set to continue as we see prices continue to fall, devices get more powerful, and connected devices finally hit the mainstream (something the Apple Watch has a good chance of achieving).
  • As consumers spend more time on mobile devices, they are creating significant inventory opportunities for advertisers. This scale is critical as it enables advertisers to hit their target audiences at scale.
  • Consumers do not just create inventory by using their mobile devices more – they also create huge amounts of data, much of which can be targeted as it does not contain PII. And most importantly, mobile devices provide location data. This data allows us to build up a picture of a consumer based on their real-world behaviours, as opposed to their digital behaviours.
  • As mobile devices are almost always with us, they can be used not just to help us create consumer profiles, they can also be used to track consumer behaviour after they have been exposed to advertising. For the first time we can get an understanding of whether someone has visited a store, or redeemed a voucher, and attribute credit back to an ad execution and an ad placement.
  • Lastly as agencies strive to make the execution of advertising campaigns more efficient, we have seen spends move into programmatic. This has been happening on desktop over the last five years, and is now happening in earnest on mobile.

It’s great to see the IAB numbers show us moving in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before mobile earns its deserved role at the heart of every media plan…

Gavin Stirrat is chief operating officer at StrikeAd

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