SINGAPORE: Marketers are failing to realise the potential of mobile marketing across Asia Pacific despite a majority appreciating its importance, new research has said.

On behalf of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), Warc and the Festival of Media Asia Pacific (FOMAP) polled 316 respondents across 24 markets in Asia Pacific, in the third iteration of research designed to gauge the attitudes of client-side advertisers and marketing services agencies towards mobile marketing.

The survey found that 91% of marketers in the region understood the significance of mobile marketing but 71% of agencies admitted that most clients did not have formal mobile strategies in place

Further evidence for the low prioritisation of mobile came in the discovery that most respondents (78%) allocated 10% or less of marketing budgets to that channel, although almost all expected to see that grow.

Where formal strategies were in place, the survey found that mobile was being integrated into other marketing campaigns much more than in the past, with 40% of respondents reporting close integration, compared with just 27% in 2013.

But 62% of respondents said they seldom used mobile to gauge audience interest and engagement in other advertising campaigns, indicating widespread scope for deeper integration.

"It's clear from the study that there is still a long way to go before brands and agencies in Asia Pacific understand the full potential of mobile for reaching consumers," said Edward Pank, Managing Director at Warc Asia Pacific.

"It is encouraging to see however that those brands that have taken the leap are now learning to use mobile in innovative ways that integrate with other marketing activities, demonstrating mobile's gradual move from the periphery to the centrepiece of marketing strategies," he added.

When asked to identify the greatest barrier to growth of mobile marketing in 2014, 45% of respondents identified 'skills' in relation to the emergence of new technology as the greatest challenge.

This aligned with respondents' thoughts on programmatic buying, with 52% admitting to having little or no knowledge of it although a majority expected it would become increasingly important.

In terms of mobile innovation, China (43%), Singapore (38%), Japan (33%) and Australia (31%) were regarded as the countries leading the way, while travel, transport and tourism topped the rankings for industries.

Data sourced from Warc