Mobile marches on but is a mystery to most clients

Top brands failing badly on mobileMobile advertising may be growing ay eye-watering levels but ignorance among client marketers about how – and indeed whether – the discipline actually works is just as staggering, according to a new IAB report.
The study, carried out in December 2015 by Circle Research, was designed to gauge client marketers’ understanding, use and opinions of mobile advertising.
It paints a picture of lemming-like marketers simply adopting mobile because everyone else is, yet the discipline remains a mystery to most. And while this may be great news for agencies – who are no doubt benefitting from the smoke and mirrors approach – it raises serious concerns about how clients can justify using a discipline they simply do not understand.
According to the findings, over half of all clients are now buying mobile programmatically despite 44% admitting they have no idea how it works, while even more are completely clueless about the entire discipline.
Some 79% of respondents insist that mobile is an important part of their organisation’s overall advertising strategy, yet only 3 in 10 (29%) feel they have an “excellent” knowledge of the technique.
Not that this appears to have fazed them when it comes to asking for more money to spend; most expect mobile budgets will increase significantly in the next 24 months. According to a separate study by eMarketer, mobile spend will reach £4.4bn in 2016.
Even so, one 1 in 3 respondents reckon a lack of budget is the biggest barrier, yet admit a dearth of tracking data is also a major problem. Interestingly, the rising  threat of ad-blocking hardly warrants a mention.
And with rising concerns over digital advertising effectiveness, the IAB concedes it has a job on its hands to ensure clients actually understand what is going on.
IAB mobile manager Mike Reynolds said: “It’s great to see just how far mobile has come in a relatively short amount of time and it’s even more exciting to see mobile on the agenda for so many advertisers in the UK.
“Interestingly, the results show that programmatic has established itself as an effective way of buying mobile media, however there is a clear disconnect between this buying technique and knowledge levels. Therefore, strengthening this knowledge base across the industry remains a top priority of ours for 2016.”
Location-based advertising is seen by 66% of respondents as the most exciting mobile opportunity, while 52% agree that wearable technology is an excellent opportunity for the industry. Furthermore, 56% plan to start advertising on wearables in the next 12 months.

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