UK called a ‘smartphone society’, but are marketers following the trend?

ofcom

The latest Ofcom report finds that two-thirds of UK adults now own a smartphone, increasing ownership by 27% from 2012. According to the Communications Market Report 201533% of internet users identified their smartphone as the most importance device for going online, compared to 30% on laptops. This signifies a clear shift from 2014, when smartphones were at 20% for preferred usership and laptops at 40%.

Devices used to go online 2011-2015 – Mobile attracts the largest jumps

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Source: stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk

Largely driven by 4G networks, 90% of those aged 16-24 years said they owned a smartphone, but the 55-64 year-olds are also joining in with 50% of them having a smartphone. Ofcom finds that 4G subscriptions rose from 2.7m to 23.6m during 2014.

James Thickett, Director of research, Ofcom, says:

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“4G has supercharged our smartphones, helping people do everything from the weekly shop to catching up with friends with a face-to-face video call. For the first time, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the UK’s most popular internet device and are now the hub of our daily lives.”

In addition, the report found that we spend an average two hours per day using our smartphones, twice as long as laptops and computers, but still only half the time we spend on TV. Emailing remains the most popular activity on smartphones (81%), followed by sending videos and photos (42%).

But what does all this mean for the advertising industry?

Mark Haviland, Managing Director, Rakuten Marketing, Europe, finds:

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“This report confirms that mobile is the preferred device for consumers online. However many retailers are delivering marketing campaigns that don’t address this; IAB research shows that just 10 per cent of the top 250 UK brands are running display advertising campaigns without a mobile optimised site. It’s crucial that marketers respond to Ofcom’s research and change their approach to match how people are consuming the internet.”

He adds that marketers will need to place greater value on mobile, focussing on an omnichannel approach. Optimisation as well as location targeting are already trending among mobile advertisers, but providing transparency as well as the best possible consumer experience should remain key to a successful campaign.

Mark Holden, Head of Strategy at Arena Media, agrees that the interconnectivity of mobile to other devices is a huge driver. He says:

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“So although we will inevitably hear about a disconnect between mobile Internet use and mobile advertising revenue, this is missing the point slightly: mobile still has the potential to drive new advertising and revenue opportunity for every media owner in the UK, and for every brand across every channel they use.”

Mobile apps represent another opportunity to reach new audiences and can help to establish a relationship with consumers, enhancing their lifetime value. However, mobile marketers continue to face one large challenge: accurate campaign measurement. The Media Ratings Council recently discovered that measurers significantly disagree on viewability rates of mobile campaigns, because we lack the industry standard.