Mobile Is Not Punching Above Its Weight - It's Just Getting Started

Is mobile punching well above its weight in digital advertising? It's a question well worth asking as it become clear that it accounts for a little over half of internet consumption in the UK (57%) according to Zenith's latest figures. This may sound fairly high, but it's actually way below the global average of 73%.

So despite what we may think in the UK, when you look at a basket of twenty or more countries and work out an average, we're actually pretty low down the league table for mobile internet consumption. It's not only quite a surprise, it's the type of revelation that makes one think -- so if there are a bunch of countries way above the UK for mobile internet consumption, why is so much fuss made over mobile here? Why is it the must-have channel in any self-respecting media planner's strategy?

There are actually two factors, however, when you throw them into the equation suggest that although it's worth asking the question, mobile is not punching above its proverbial weight.

First off, there are the figures. Now, IAB UK figures are due out tomorrow for ad spend for the first half of this year, so we'll soon have an update, but it's fair to say that mobile, as a very rough rule of thumb, was accounting for about half of digital advertising. The proportion is usually higher for native and video because display isn't always the best way to go on a small screen. Mobile video or native gets you in the feed, on the page, rather than flashing at readers from a tiny slither at the top of the screen. So, consumption, as a whole is representative of the ad-spend figures.

Then we have to throw some common sense at Zenith's average figure. The fact is that it includes a whole bunch of Asian and African economies that haven't been through the desktop incarnation of accessing the internet. Many developing economies have gone straight to mobile internet because the fixed phone line infrastructure wasn't there to support broadband. 

So there you have it. Mobile is only set to go from strength to strength -- and, in my opinion, will only go on to further dominate types of advertising best suited to the small screen -- such as video, social and native. 

Barely reaching above a 50:50 tipping point of consumption isn't a big deal because the installed desktop user base is so huge here in comparison to the developing world. It's always worth double-checking with oneself that assumptions are correct and that mobile is not building up an unsustainable "bubble."

When you do go through the figures and qualify what they're actually saying, mobile looks set to keep on soaring -- particularly given the potential for display's viewability and fraud woes to send budget to the categories mobiles excels in.

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