LONDON: Mobile adspend is set to rise rapidly in the UK during the next few years, but obstacles such as limited client knowledge and proving return on investment remain, new research has found.

The IAB, the digital industry body, polled 400 agency executives, and found 98% of represented firms are now directing advertising budgets to this channel on behalf of brands, with 94% also doing so for tablets.

In all, 28% of agencies "regularly" include this medium in their proposals to brand owners, a 33% increase year on year, suggesting it has moved beyond an "experimental" phase.

A further 55% of those questioned agreed mobile inventory offered "good value for money" compared with other media, and 50% possessed a "good understanding" of this channel, up from 24% in 2010.

However, 74% of organisations believed there was a lack of comprehension about the possibilities available among client-side marketers, which is currently containing revenue levels.

More positively, 90% of contributors thought mobile would be the fastest-growing form of media in the coming five years.

Mobile search, in particular, was perceived as holding substantial potential, and 57% of executives asserted that the expenditure allocated to this activity would outpace the online equivalent by 2015.

"With this advancement of the industry comes new pressure to look at areas such as tracking and measurement," said Alex Kozloff, senior mobile manager at the IAB.

Indeed, demonstrating payback is a core concern, as 31% of the panel had "no idea" regarding the tools to use for monitoring campaigns, an increase from 26% last year.

Similarly, 32% of interviewees reported that the planning stage of mobile advertising was equally challenging.

Elsewhere, only 11% of agencies claimed to fully understand near field communications, which facilitate wireless payments, and 8% said the same for mcommerce as a whole.

Despite this, near field communications were seen as an especially promising opportunity for mobile marketing by the sample, confirming previous IAB research showing that 74% of consumers are interested in utilising such services.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff