SINGAPORE: Most brands in the Asia-Pacific region lack a formal mobile marketing strategy but this is set to change, with an overwhelming majority of brands and agencies predicting a substantial rise in budgets, new research has found.

A Warc survey, conducted for the MMA and The Festival of Media Asia, consulted with 336 client-side advertisers and marketing services agencies across 13 markets in Asia-Pacific on their attitudes to and adoption of mobile marketing. It found that mobile accounted for 10% or less of marketing budgets in 2013.

But almost all respondents (90%) expected that budgets would increase in the next year, with a third (34%) predicting an increase of up to 75%.

Edward Pank, Warc Asia Pacific managing director, observed that even though brands did not have a mobile strategy in place, "there is a clear role that mobile plays at the centre of a well-integrated campaign".

"Marketers are therefore clear that more budgets need to be allocated to mobile as they experiment and figure out the most effective use for their customer engagement requirements," he added.

One problem highlighted by the survey was consumer concern over privacy and security, which 42% of marketers felt was holding the industry back.

Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director, Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific, warned that this could not be ignored. "It's imperative that the ecosystem help educate consumers on how their information is being collected and used," he said. Consequently, "consumers will be more open to mobile advertising that is targeted and relevant".

The issue of security was also relevant to the leading trend in consumer behaviour being fuelled by mobile – mobile payments, cited by 74% of respondents. Other behaviours being driven by mobile included multi-screening (67%), and show rooming (51%).

In the short term, marketers said their most-used mobile channels would be app development and display ads, but they predicted that in five years' time they would include mobile-based social marketing and mobile-based content as well as continued app development.

Some markets were thought to be more open than others to innovation in the field of mobile marketing, including Japan (39%), Singapore (38%) and China (37%). At the other end of the scale, Taiwan (3%), Thailand (3%), and Vietnam (2%) were believed to be the least innovative markets.

Marketers regarded Samsung as the most innovative brand using mobile (30%), followed at a distance by Coca-Cola (16%), Nike (10%), and Unilever (8%).

Data sourced from Warc, MMA; additional content by Warc staff