While mobile is bucking the downward spending trend resulting from the recession, the emerging medium is still only a small fraction of total marketing budgets, at 1.8%. The MMA projects that mobile ad spending will grow from $1.7 billion this year to $2.16 billion in 2010.
The trade group found that about half of brands and advertising agencies it polled were doing at least some type of mobile marketing, with SMS text campaigns being the most common at 66%, followed by having a mobile Web site (53%), and mobile email marketing (33%).
About half of agencies said they overall viewed mobile marketing as still being part of experimental expending, compared to 36% of brands. Both brands and agencies reported having "average" success with mobile efforts compared to other marketing channels.
While that might not be the ringing endorsement the industry would like to hear, MMA President and CEO Mike Wehrs said the increase in mobile spending despite the downturn shows that more dollars are shifting to the category from traditional media. "The benefits of [mobile marketing] are clear and they're being proven out," said Wehrs, in terms of metrics like ad response rates and brand lift found in MMA case studies.
Peter Johnson, who is leading the MMA's research efforts as vice president of market intelligence and strategy, said the findings highlighted mobile's strengths as a vehicle for performance-based advertising. "This recession just provides more evidence to show marketers are putting in dollars where they're going to be able to track and target and serve it. So, of course, mobile," he said.
Not surprisingly, the study also showed that the Internet is the medium that advertisers are most often integrating mobile efforts with, at 70%. Less expected is that trade shows and other promotional events would be the next most popular type of marketing effort tied into mobile, at 36%.
The MMA research, which the organization plans to release more widely in the coming days, also relied on input from partners including the Advertising Database Inc. and Luth Research.