Mobile Use Impacts Digital Marketing, But Budgets Lag

According to a study from Econsultancy and SEMPO, summarized by Marketing Charts, the increased use of mobile by consumers is having a significant impact on a variety of digital marketing efforts. Describing the impact of trends and technologies on paid search, SEO, display, social media marketing, and email marketing, consumers’ mobile use topped the impact rankings.

Impact of Consumer Mobile Use On Digital Marketing (% Marketers Responding)

Digital Marketing

Not Significant


Highly Significant

Paid search








Digital display




Social media marketing




Email marketing




Source: Econsultancy/Sempo, February 2014

Company respondents described the impact of consumers’ increased mobile use as highly significant or significant in the context of their paid search marketing efforts, putting the impact of mobile ahead of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns and changes to AdWords and integration with social media. The 49% rating consumers’ mobile use highly significant was far ahead of the 33% deeming Google’s changes to be highly significant.

93% of agencies rated consumers’ mobile use as highly significant (55%) or significant (38%) to their paid search efforts. Fewer than one-third rated Google’s changes as highly significant.

The only area in which consumers’ increasing mobile use was not seen as having the biggest impact was SEO. Instead, “not provided” keyword data was rated as “highly significant” by 52% of respondents, compared to 38% each saying the same about Hummingbird/Penguin/Panda algorithmic changes and the increased use of mobile by consumers.

As for agencies, the increasing use of mobile by consumers was rated at least significant by the most respondents (90%), but the “not provided” keyword data option was rated “highly significant” by the largest proportion (58%).

In the context of Digital Display, 84% of in-house marketers rated consumers’ increasing mobile use as either highly significant (30%) or significant (54%), ahead of improved marketing attribution, real-time bidding, and ad blocking.

Though agencies were as likely to find improved marketing attribution to be at least significant as consumers’ mobile use, they were more likely to attribute a high degree of impact to the mobile factor.

In Social Media Marketing, mobile use scored highest with more than 8 in 10 company marketers described mobile’s impact as being highly significant (42%) or significant (40%). The closest competitor in terms of being “highly significant” was improved marketing attribution (27%). Agencies responded in much the same way.

Email opens continue to gravitate towards mobile devices. 84% of marketers described mobile as having a highly significant (37%) or significant (47%) impact on their email marketing efforts, making mobile more significant than consumer data protection laws (73%) and Gmail’s “Promotional” email tabs (56%). Agencies were even more convinced of mobile’s impact, with 91% rating it significant.

According to company marketers, Google’s Universal Analytics is the most “highly significant” trend shaping mobile marketing, rated as such by 30% of respondents, twice as many who said the same about “superfast” data connections.

For agencies, it was a much different story. Agency respondents by a large margin described geotargeting as the most significant mobile marketing trend. Exactly half rated it highly significant (compared to 24% for Google’s Universal Analytics), with 92% rating it at least somewhat significant (versus 80% for “increased screen sizes”).

Consumers’ use of mobiles proved to be of great significance to marketers and agencies alike, but thespending budget doesn’t support it. With digital marketing budgets shown by channel, paid search marketing came out on top with an average of 31% share of digital budgets. Next were SEO and email, tied at 18% share apiece. Mobile sat at the bottom of the list, with just 3% of digital marketing budgets.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of more than 400 companies, agencies and consultants, 53% of whom manage strategy, budgets, and direction of marketing. Some 73% are based in the US.

To purchase the complete study, please visit eConsultancy here.


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