LONDON: A significant proportion of the UK's leading finance brands have yet to develop a mobile strategy, even as a new report claims advertising on mobile devices will overtake that in newspapers this year.

The Mobile Finance Audit from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) examined the mobile performance of the country's top 50 finance companies in terms of adspend, including whether brands had a mobile optimised site, a tablet specific site, responsive web design, mobile optimised search and an app.

It found that almost one quarter (24%) of the top spending 50 UK finance brands did not have a mobile site or an app.

And even among those who did, it was evident, said the IAB, that many were not optimising the full consumer journey. For example, it reported that 58% of those audited had not optimised their data capture form on their mobile website.

Some 70% of the banks considered had a mobile app, although the functionality varied widely. Around two thirds (64%) enabled customers to transfer money between accounts while 43% offered a 'find your nearest cash point' function. Customer usability, the IAB noted, was an important factor.

Just over half (54%) of finance brands were optimising their search for mobile, so enabling customers to find them on the move. And 62% also had a 'click to call' function on their mobile website.

The study drew attention to NatWest, Bupa and Hiscox as the leading mobile brands with all three scoring highly against the mobile KPIs outlined above.

Jon Mew, the IAB's Mobile and Operations Director, described the audits as "a fantastic benchmarking tool" that would help those brands lagging behind to fully understand the opportunities mobile offered.

A separate report from insights provider eMarketer predicted that UK mobile adspend would increase 90% in 2014 to reach £2.26bn. This would put it ahead of newspaper advertising (£2.06bn) for the first time.

These figures do not tally, however, with those of the Advertising Association and Warc. While showing the same broad direction of travel, they suggest mobile growing rather more slowly in 2014, at 75%, to reach £1.82bn, still some way from overtaking news brands in print (£2.33bn).

Data sourced from IAB, eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff