Agency attitudes hamper mobile growth

24 September 2012
LONDON: A majority of publishers in the UK believe the negative attitude of ad agencies is slowing down the potential revenue growth drawn from mobile phones and tablets.

The Association of Online Publishers (AOP), the trade body, polled member organisations together responsible for 1,500 digital titles, and boasting combined web returns of over £1bn.

When asked to name the "main inhibitors" towards the growth of revenues from wireless devices, 53.5% of the panel cited the attitude of agencies. This figure stood at 55% for smartphones and 52% for tablets.

A dependency on low-yield advertising networks was mentioned as being problematic by another 52% of participants when discussing phones, compared with just 10% upon looking at gadgets like the iPad.

The limited size of the tablet audience, however, was an issue for 52% of contributors, and was also perceived as a hurdle by 31% of interviewees with reference to smartphones.

Despite these obstacles, 91% of the sample identified tablets as one of the areas offering the greatest opportunity for revenue growth next year, a total standing at 85% for mobile.

Today, 87% of publishers receive at least a fifth of their digital traffic from wireless devices, but only 29% generate a similar share of revenues from this channel.

Lee Baker, director of AOP, said: "We are going to see some fundamental changes to the mobile ad market over the coming year as ad agency attitudes catch up with publisher investment and mobile audience size."

In all, 62% of the feature companies would have their portfolio optimised for mobile gadgets over the next 12 months.

The main issues facing publishers seeking to expand their activities in this space included the diverse range of devices in use on 72%, a lack of in-house skills and resources on 56%, and difficulties related to integrating mobile with current sales efforts on 47%.

Data sourced from Association of Online Publishers; additional content by Warc staff
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