IAB UK Shows Huge Mobile Growth As Direct Programmatic Hits Tipping Point

The IAB and PwC Digital Adspend report for 2017 is in -- and it's good news for the smartphone. Among the eye-opening figures of growth, it is mobile that has fared the best of any channel or device.

However, as ever with these figures, there is another finding hidden away. It's one that you probably won't see highlighted elsewhere, so let's deal with it before we go on to sing the praises of mobile, like everyone else.

Direct programmatic is in, open exchanges are on their way out. That is the headline that's hidden away in the IAB figures.

Of the GBP3.84bn spent on digital display in 2017, 80% was traded programmatically -- that's up from 72% the year before. Of these programmatic trades, very nearly two in three -- 63% -- were handled through private marketplaces rather an open exchanges, which account for fewer than one in five trades, 17%.

So, by my back-of-an-envelope calculation, that is pretty much a tipping point where 50% of all the display bought in the UK is a direct, programmatic deal. That's a half of all spend going to direct, private programmatic marketplaces compared to around one in seven going to an open network. Quite a turnaround, no?

I doubt this finding will be aired anywhere else -- but for me, it's a major moment. Now that it has been mentioned, it may be time to do some hero worship of the mobile channel -- particularly mobile videom which is the star of 2017's figures.

It accounts for nearly three-quarters -- 73% -- of all video spending. While video expenditure, in general, is up 47% to GBP1.61bn, mobile video saw a staggering rise of 69%.

It was one of the standout performances, which means the smartphone now accounts for 45% of all digital advertising spending. However, as the IAB points out, the mobile device in your hand accounts for around 59% of its owner's media time, and so it is fair to assume the rise will continue until more is spent on mobile than any other digital channel. 

One area where this is likely to happen is social media. It now accounts for one in five pounds spent on digital advertising and 83% of that spend is directed at mobile.

Another finding worthy of note is that mobile search spending is increasing at 37%, double the rate of overall search spending growth, meaning mobile now accounts for a little over two in five of every pounds spent on search. 

So there you have it -- mobile is huge, and just keeps on growing.

But how about this for a suggestion: Mobile represents 45% of all spend, so it is very nearly reaching parity with all other channels. Direct programmatic accounts for 50% of all display trades, meaning that it has surely reached its tipping point. Mobil i's very nearly there, direct programmatic has reached the summit.

It's an alternative takeaway, but with all the love pouring out for mobile today, I think a little nod to direct programmatic won't go amiss.

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