SINGAPORE: Asia's mobile marketers expect to make greater use of content over the next five years and to reduce their reliance on display-based advertising, according to new research from Warc and the Mobile Marketing Association.

The State of the Industry: Mobile Marketing in Asia report, launched yesterday at the Mobile Marketing Association Forum in Singapore, shows that 70% of marketers currently use display advertising but just 44% plan to use it in five years' time.

Content, in contrast, is set to take pole position, with adoption rising from 33% today to 49% by 2020.

The survey, which included the opinions of nearly 300 marketers in 17 countries across Asia-Pacific, assessed how industry professionals are using mobile marketing in the region.

Asia currently leads the world in mobile marketing, with users across the region much more likely to use their smartphone as the first point of access to brands. But despite mobile being acknowledged as one of the most important trends impacting marketing in Asia, just 54% of those surveyed have a formal mobile marketing strategy in place, although this is an increase from 44% in 2014.

Marketers are pairing their mobile marketing efforts with online channels – 84% of respondents found social media is complimentary to mobile outreach, with online search following closely at 60%, a 12 percentage point increase from 2014. Traditional media – print, outdoor, radio – are losing ground as marketers turn to new media channels.

"Confidence in the channel's importance continues to rise and the investments speak for themselves," said Edward Pank, managing director at Warc Asia Pacific.

"The ongoing challenge now is that today's consumers expect much more of their mobile content and experience. So in order to keep up, marketers need to hone their skills further and innovate strategically."

As for brands blazing a path with smart mobile engagement, Unilever, recognised for its scale across the region, was seen as the most innovative brand in mobile marketing.

Data sourced from Warc