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UK Agencies Put More Pounds to Mobile

Mobile is getting more attention from UK agencies, even as substantial questions remain regarding certain mobile issues and trends. The Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) found that in 2012 more than half of agencies reported spending between 6% and 20% of their digital budgets on mobile. That’s up from 2011 when more than half spent between 1% and 5% on mobile.

eMarketer expects mobile to account for 16.1% of digital spending in the country in 2013, when it reaches £965 million ($1.53 billion), after nearly doubling since 2012. The UK, with its high penetration of smartphones and tablets, is behind only the US and Japan in the percentage of digital budget allocated to mobile, according to eMarketer.

Still, as much excitement as there is around mobile, plenty of questions remain about the relatively new channel. Seven out of 10 agency respondents reported that lack of client understanding of mobile was holding them back from making a greater investment in the channel.

But certainly there has been a steady improvement in mobile understanding and capability over the past couple of years. While in 2011, more than half of UK agencies said lack of measurement and tracking of mobile performance limited investment, that percentage fell to less than one-third in 2012. And only 17% said they did not devote enough internal agency resources to mobile last year.

Even as agencies’ mobile knowledge expands, there remain opportunities and issues many have not yet explored. The greatest percentage (53%) reported having no experience with either responsive web design or mobile privacy. Real-time mobile advertising, near-field communication (NFC) and HTML5 were also areas that almost half of agencies had no experience with yet.

While UK agencies may be a long way from fully leveraging the mobile channel, there is no question it will only become more important to the digital marketing mix over time. Over nine out of 10 respondents expected mobile to be the fastest-growing medium in the next five years.

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