BEIJING: Chinese advertisers are ahead of their global counterparts when it comes to investing in mobile, with a significant number having already integrated it into their overall marketing strategy, a new survey has said.

The World Federation of Advertisers polled 21 leading Chinese advertisers spending RMB 25bn ($5.7bn) annually on communication and found that 20% claimed mobile had been a key priority for some time and that the channel was already well integrated into an overall marketing plan. A further 35% claimed to have a strategic vision for mobile.

These results contrasted with a separate global survey conducted by the WFA involving 23 companies spending an estimated $39bn annually, which showed that just 4% of respondents had successfully integrated mobile into their marketing plan, although 57% said a strategic vision for the channel had been developed.

The disparity continued when considering the weighted average of mobile spend: 11% of interactive budgets in China were spent on mobile, with some respondents devoting up to 40% to mobile.

Global advertisers, however, were spending just 6% of digital budgets on mobile and none was allocating more than 20% here.

This gap between the global picture and the Chinese market is only likely to get bigger, as the WFA reported that all respondents in China planned to increase their mobile spend in the next 12 months. Fully 72% intended to make a large increase, compared with the 54% of global advertisers who had similar plans.

The WFA pointed to the different ways that mobile was being utilised and the different marketing aims as possible reasons for the discrepancy. For example, in China the top use of mobile in the last year has been QR codes (84%), while the global community has focused on paid search and mobile display (both 88%).

And global respondents were also more likely to invest in mobile video (used by 83% in the last year) and social media mobile advertising (79%) than their Chinese counterparts who are putting more emphasis on mobile social content or engagement (68%).

The two sides found more common ground in the issue of measuring the impact of mobile and comparing it with other channels, the difficulty of which was mentioned by 67% in China and 50% globally.

David Porter, Media Director North Asia, Unilever and WFA member applauded "the increasing energy with which industry bodies in China are addressing these issues".

Data sourced from WFA; additional content by Warc staff