Mobile may still be a mystery platform for a lot of marketers -- but brands are rushing in, with agencies on vanguard. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) finds that over half of the marketers who responded to a survey said their companies' mobile advertising spend over the past two years has increased "to some degree," with 29% reporting an increase of over 50%.
That's not at all surprising given the buzz around mobile, but consider what the IAB says will be coming down the road. The firm's "Marketer Perspectives on Mobile Advertising" study of 300 top-level brand-marketing executives includes a prediction that a much bigger increase is coming over the next two years, initially driven by marketing programs on smartphones. <
Nearly three-quarters of the ad-spend decision-makers the firm surveyed for the study said they are looking to increase their mobile advertising budget, with 35% saying they will increase spend by over 50%.
Over half of the brand marketers surveyed by Ovum, the firm that the IAB commissioned for the study, said they are already treating mobile as integral to advertising strategy. The other half are still working on how to use mobile -- with a third saying they are "experimenting" with mobile, while another 14% are using mobile marketing on an ad hoc basis.
What is most appealing to marketers about the medium? Fifty-seven percent of respondents pointed to immediacy of the response; nearly as many point to cost-effectiveness; and over half said increased engagement was a key benefit of mobile.
On the flip side, 72% of those who participated in the study said device fragmentation is a challenge of medium or high importance; privacy issues and lack of standardized metrics give pause to 70% and 69% of respondents, respectively. Also, about 60% said the fact that mobile platforms limit opportunities for creative is a major challenge. The firm suggests that may have to do with the fact that 62% of marketers do not use creative agencies for mobile advertising. The majority of those who do -- 85% -- said these partnerships produced good results.
"Mobile advertising is advancing rapidly and many of the issues that slowed progress in earlier years have been overcome -- for example, constraints imposed by networks and mobile phone limitations have radically improved through developments in, respectively, mobile broadband and smartphones," said Eden Zoller, principal analyst with Ovum and author of the report, in a statement.
In terms of which mobile media platform marketers are tackling, about 60% of respondents said smartphones are a high priority; 31% said the same of tablets; and 22% said feature phones. Fewer respondents said Ebooks and connected games consoles were critical.