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UK Mobile Device Users Favor TV Ads

TV still No. 1 for ad attention

Much is made of the proliferation and use of mobile devices in the UK. eMarketer estimates that 80.6% of the entire UK population will be mobile phone users in 2014, while a further 41.1% will use tablets. And mobile is fueling a rise that will see time spent with digital media surpass TV time in the UK this year.

However, when it comes to advertising on these different devices, there’s a clear winner in terms of engagement, and that winner isn’t a mobile device. According to March 2014 polling from research firm Millward Brown, just 37% of UK smartphone or tablet users who owned or had access to a TV paid attention to ads delivered on a smartphone, while only marginally more paid attention to tablet ads—38%.

For TV ads, that figure was substantially higher, at 71%. And TV was also the clear winner when it came to those ads eliciting favorable reactions, with 39% of respondents saying they enjoyed the ads, vs. just 17% and 16% of smartphone and tablet users, respectively, saying the same.

Marketers, though, are often quite dismissive of the TV ad opportunity. A January 2014 study by Econsultancy and Adobe asked client-side marketers worldwide if they thought mass reach via TV would not be an effective tactic within five years. Almost half agreed that it wouldn’t, with just 20% feeling that it would be effective.

Ad spend, meanwhile, continues to flood into the mobile channel. Indeed, eMarketer estimates that mobile will become the single biggest ad channel in the UK by 2017.

Of course, mobile advertising can’t be ignored, particularly in light of the increasing influence mobile devices are having on UK consumers’ everyday lives. But for now, at least, a strong argument could be made that while more and more money is going to mobile ads, it remains somewhat ineffective, at least when put next to TV advertising.

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