UK mobile ad spend hits USD312.5m in 2011

Growing consumer adoption of smartphones

Mobile ad spend rose 157% year on year to reach GBP203m (USD312.5m) in the UK last year, as growing consumer adoption of smartphones continued to attracted marketers, according to a report from the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ad spend last year more than doubled from the GBP83m spent in 2010, when advertisers remained wary of mobile, despite the growing number of consumers buying smartphones and tablets.

However, the IAB’s director of mobile operators, John Mew, says that mobile is now “ingrained” in consumers’ lives, with resultant ad spend growing steeply in the last year. The IAB says that spend is being fuelled by consumer uptake of mobile apps and social media and mobile, as well as cheaper data tariffs. It adds that the concept of the “second screen” – users watching TV while browsing content on their phones or tablets – is also attracting attention from advertisers.

Growing areas now include retail, which accounted for 12.3% of last year’s ad spend, up from 5.5% the previous year, as consumers become more comfortable buying and paying for items on their devices. The IAB says that almost a quarter of British consumers have bought a product or service on their phones or tablets. Entertainment and media remain the biggest areas of investment; with 23.2% and 14.9% of ad spend, respectively.

In what is likely to please advertisers looking for proof that their investment is paying off, mobile ad network InMobi says it is seeing huge growth in ad impressions. The firm reports a 358% growth in ad impressions in Europe in the final quarter of last year, rising from 6.7bn the previous year to 30.7bn. The firm also claims that more consumers are at ease with mobile ads, with two thirds of users now “as comfortable” with ads on mobile as on TV or the internet. Almost half say that mobile ads have introduced them to a new product or service.

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