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Coming to America? The UK mobile advertising market booms

It’s com­mon knowl­edge among those hold­ing media jobs in mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies that it’s a tough space to attract adver­tis­ers into; but intrigu­ing devel­op­ments in the UK mar­ket may lead to plen­ty of new appli­cants for media jobs in the indus­try if they catch on stateside.

New fig­ures pub­lished in The Finan­cial Times news­pa­per reveal that mobile adver­tis­ing in the UK tripled in the space of a year, soar­ing from £203m ($311m) in 2011 to £526m ($807m) in 2012. That’s a wal­lop­ing 148 per cent year-on-year rise.

The smart­phone revolution

The rise is attrib­ut­able to the rev­o­lu­tion in hand­held devices: around two thirds of the UK’s pop­u­la­tion now owns a smart­phone, a devel­op­ment which has mas­sive­ly changed the face of the ad mar­ket. Back in 2008, when Apple’s app store was opened by Steve Jobs, UK mobile adver­tis­ing stood at a tri­fling £25m ($38m).

Fast for­ward to 2012 and mobile dis­play and video adver­tis­ing alone reached £150m ($230m), up 121 per cent on 2011. Mobile search, which accounts for 69 per cent of all mobile spend­ing in the UK, rock­et­ed by 164 per cent over the same peri­od to hit a record high of £365m ($560m).

While mobile adver­tis­ing account­ed for only 1 per cent of the total dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing mar­ket in the UK in 2009, by 2012 it had expand­ed to 10 per cent – a ten­fold increase in just three years.

The Inter­net Adver­tis­ing Bureau’s Direc­tor of Research and Strat­e­gy, Tom Elk­ing­ton, said:

“There is sim­ply so much buzz around mobile. Mar­keters are becom­ing more attuned to the ‘always on’ nature of con­sumers who expect to engage with con­tent wher­ev­er they are.”

Onwards and upwards for 2013

And things look set to get even bet­ter: the roll­out of super-fast 4G ser­vices is like­ly to dri­ve mobile adver­tis­ing onwards and upwards to new records in 2013; mobile oper­a­tor EE is already promis­ing to hike up its net­work speed to 80Mbps across 10 UK cities by the summer.

It seems that the neg­a­tives of mobile adver­tis­ing – find­ing ads to fit all those dif­fer­ent mobile screen sizes – are now being out­weighed by mobile’s unique attrac­tions, like touch-sen­si­tive screens and loca­tion-based tech­nolo­gies. Ads are more inter­ac­tive, engag­ing and rel­e­vant as a result.

The writ­ing is on the wall: if you’re look­ing for promis­ing media jobs in adver­tis­ing, think mobile.

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