Marketers Have Mobile Schizophrenia

Sometimes the hype of mobile outpaces the reality. Witness the recent prediction that mobile ad spending would overtake the $70 billion TV market. In truth, while there’s great potential, mobile still faces a raft of challenges to become a large scale media channel, often stuck for now in the dreaded “experimental” marketing bucket.

The Internet Advertising Bureau has released research finding a disconnect between the regular plaudits mobile gets as a “gamechanger” and the reality that it’s a rounding error in most marketing budgets. More than one third of the companies involved in the research identified their mobile advertising strategies as experimental. Forty percent of those companies are spending less than $50,000 per annum in mobile advertising. And even those spending somewhat healthily are wary. For example, 36 percent of those who identify their budgets as experimental spend $300,000 per year.


The reason for the wariness is lingering concerns over consumer privacy, device-operating-system fragmentation and a lack of standardized metrics. Marketers indicate that mobile advertising budgets are set to increase over the next two years, although the amount of the anticipated increase varied widely. Thirty-five percent of respondents expect current spending to increase by over 50 percent; 37 percent anticipate their mobile advertising budget will increase by under 50 percent; 27 percent expect it to remain unchanged.

Not surprisingly, 93 percent of respondents said that increasing brand awareness was their most important objective for mobile advertising. And national brands are further along in creating mobile marketing and in making it a part of their media mix — 63 percent of the nationals have integrated mobile into their media campaigns.

Smartphones were deemed the top priority for mobile marketers by 60 percent of respondents, but there is also keen interest in tablet devices. Sixty-two percent of respondents indicated that these are a high or a medium priority in their mobile strategies.

The survey revealed that feature phones are still considered important devices for mobile advertising, with 22 percent of respondents saying these are high-priority devices. According to the research, marketers expect feature phone usage to increase over the next two years rather than flatten out.

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