June 23, 2021

Marketers Drawn by Mobile’s Growth, Opportunity

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
With the use of mobile devices booming more than ever, two in three advertisers plan to increase their “m-commerce” budgets this year — “indicating more confidence in both market conditions and in mobile as a channel,” says a report released last week by the Mobile Marketing Association.

The MMA’s annual report, in conjunction with the World Advertising Research Center (WARC), had found in a similar 2020 survey of marketing professionals that two in five planned to increase their mobile marketing budgets at the time. But then arose a global pandemic, during which the use of mobile devices exploded at a much greater rate than had been anticipated.

Thus, 67 percent of marketers/advertisers now plan to devote more money to mobile marketing in 2021, compared to the 40 percent who had planned to do so last year. The latest MMA annual report was based on a survey of 575 marketing professionals — “a mix of client-side, agency, media owner and technology vendor marketers” — during April and May of this year.

“With many workforces still working remotely and social and m-commerce technologies rapidly developing, mobile will play an important part in marketing strategies, as indicated by the acceleration of mobile ad budgets and the opportunities provided to advertisers as outlined in this report,” said Amy Rodgers, WARC’s managing editor of research and rankings.

Use of Mobile Devices Grew 13.8% Last Year

Experts at eMarketer revealed in a related report last week just how much the pandemic hiked the use of mobile devices.

“Prior to the pandemic, we expected growth in mobile time spent to slow and level off within a few years,” their report found.

“Instead, average time spent on smartphones, tablets, and feature phones in 2020 increased by just over half an hour per day to reach 4 hours, 16 minutes (4:16), about 28 minutes more than we had predicted back in November 2019.”

That 13.8% growth was mobile’s fastest annual increase since 2014, eMarketer said. Its experts are now forecasting that mobile growth will slow to 2% or 3% “year over year” through 2023, but it notes “these growth rates sit on top of a higher base” accumulated during the pandemic.

In 2023, the average U.S. adult will spend 4 hours and 35 minutes per day on mobile devices, eMarketer predicts.

Other Insights in the Mobile Marketers’ Annual Report

In addition to finding that two in three advertisers will boost their mobile marketing budgets this year, the MMA offered these insights from its latest annual report:

  • Social is by far the most used marketing channel with mobile. Eighty-seven percent of respondents to the MMA survey use social in their mobile marketing strategy, and, “on average, a third of the mobile budget goes toward social,” with YouTube and Facebook the most-used platforms for display marketing, the MMA says.
  • M-commerce is one of the most important industry changes during COVID-19. “Overall, 68% of respondents are seeing increased m-commerce capabilities and two in five (42%) say uptake of m-commerce is one of the most important consumer behaviors.”
  • Mobile marketing needs to overcome privacy concerns to realize its growth potential. “As we approach the end of the third-party cookie as a means to target and measure, marketing professionals are facing more pressure. Three in five predict they’ll be affected by the ‘death’ of the cookie.”
  • Video is catching up to non-video display as the leading form of mobile monetization for media owners and tech enablers. “Subscriptions/memberships and e-commerce are also key focus areas.”
  • The future of mobile technology seeks to connect “the online and offline,” the MMA report finds, particularly through artificial intelligence and machine learning, the internet of things, and voice.
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