Mobile advertising continues to see growth in the UK, despite the impact of COVID-19 on marketing budgets, according to a new WARC report which finds brands looking to engage consumers in a socially distanced world largely through video and social.

The State of the Industry: Mobile Marketing in the UK 2020, an annual report released today, is based on an online survey of over 90 marketing professionals in the UK, carried out in April and May 2020 by WARC on behalf of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

The key takeaways are as follows:

Mobile remains a resilient channel

The report found that 43% of marketers are allocating more than a quarter of their budget to mobile marketing, a 20pp increase from 2017, mobile, as a media channel is growing faster than ever.

However, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 56% of marketers were expecting their mobile budgets to rise over the next year; now, only 31% feel the same. But with brands turning their focus to building an e-commerce footprint, this will provide more opportunities for mobile marketing.

Mobile video and social prioritised for 2020

This year, 31% of marketers are planning to focus on both social and mobile video with both seeing a significant average budget allocation split of 36% and 20% respectively.

Social platforms that focus on mobile video such as Instagram and TikTok have seen a surge in usage over the past year, boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen marketers use these platforms as an opportunity to engage consumers in a socially distanced world.

Metrics and measurement remain an issue

Almost half of marketers (48%) see metrics as the biggest barrier to growth. The rapid innovation in mobile marketing means the need for constant innovation in measurement as marketers try to optimise their spend across channels.

This year, two-thirds of marketing professionals use engagement metrics to measure mobile marketing effectiveness, whilst the use of behavioural metrics has consistently decreased from 66% in 2018 to 53% in 2020.

AR and VR are the technologies to watch

One-fifth (20%) of marketers predict AR and VR to have the most significance in five years’ time.

These technologies have already started to be used in fashion, which was deemed by UK respondents to be the most innovative sector in EMEA in its use of mobile to reach customers, followed by leisure & entertainment and financial services.

Mobile is seen as an effective marketing channel, but …

The perceived effectiveness of the channel has decreased in the last year. In 2019, just over one tenth (14%) of marketing professionals considered the channel ineffective which increased to 21% this year.

This comes as mobile ads are starting to display resistance to the impact of COVID-19, with in-app content consumption up, and mobile adspend falling less steeply than web display adspend.

But 57% of UK marketers agree that customers reached through mobile are highly engaged.

The full report is available to WARC subscribers and MMA members, alongside the recently released Mobile Marketing in EMEA report. A similar report will be released shortly for APAC.

Sourced from WARC Data