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Small Business Mobile Ad Spend Set to Increase in Battle for Retail Dollar

72% of small to medi­um-sized busi­ness­es (SMBs) will increase or main­tain their spend on mobile phones adver­tis­ing over the next 12 months and those busi­ness­es plan­ning to grow their mobile adver­tis­ing bud­gets look set to increase them by as much as 30% in the next year.

Almost $2.5 bil­lion was spent on mobile adver­tis­ing in the US this year – over one third of the glob­al total. This now puts the US well ahead of Japan, pre­vi­ous­ly the biggest mar­ket for mobile adver­tis­ing. Accord­ing to eMar­keter, the US spend sits at $2.4 bil­lion for 2012, up an incred­i­ble $1.17 bil­lion on the 2011 fig­ure, and the com­pa­ny pre­dicts those num­bers are set to reach dou­ble fig­ures by 2014.

With such phe­nom­e­nal growth, small to mid­size busi­ness­es look set to put more of their mar­ket­ing bud­gets on mobile as the bat­tle for the retail dol­lar hots up. This means any­one think­ing of enter­ing the SMB are­na would be wise to bring some mobile adver­tis­ing know-how to the table, and any­one hop­ing to work for an ad agency might do well to look at those com­pa­nies with a mobile spe­cial­ism.

Research com­mis­sioned by Pon­ti­f­lex and con­duct­ed by Bor­rell Asso­ciates has shown that as the war between the SMBs gets seri­ous, spend on mobile ads looks set to sky­rock­et as organ­i­sa­tions in the sec­tor pre­pare to go head to head to grab the lion’s share of the retail spend, which rep­re­sents a healthy 47% of search­es using smart­phone devices.

Analy­sis and Eval­u­a­tion – Key to an SMB Ad Campaign 

As well as con­cen­trat­ing on mobile adver­tis­ing, organ­i­sa­tions in the sec­tor are also look­ing to increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed tech­nol­o­gy to map the effec­tive­ness of their cam­paigns. In fact, 77% of those com­pa­nies sur­veyed stat­ed they felt that the abil­i­ty to analyse and track results of mobile cam­paigns was impor­tant; while three-quar­ters said they felt real-time opti­miza­tion was key to their adver­tis­ing strat­e­gy. This is borne out by the fact that almost half of respon­dents, some 49%, said they would invest more in mobile if the ROI was higher.

Anoth­er sur­vey by dig­i­tal intel­li­gence spe­cial­ists com­Score found that for the month of July, four out of five smart­phone users (almost 86 mil­lion peo­ple) vis­it­ed retail con­tent using their device.  Ama­zon topped the rank­ings with around 50 mil­lion vis­its, while mul­ti-plat­form retail­ers such as Apple, Wal­Mart, Tar­get and Best Buy accrued just over 50 mil­lion hits between them and where mar­ket lead­ers ‘lead’, so oth­ers will follow.

“With near­ly 86 mil­lion Amer­i­cans now shop­ping on their smart­phones, this pro­nounced shift in con­sumer behav­ior is sim­ply too large for retail­ers to ignore, with the future of their busi­ness depend­ing on how well they adapt to the new envi­ron­ment,” said Mark Dono­van, com­Score SVP of mobile.

“But adapt­ing isn’t always easy, espe­cial­ly when con­sid­er­ing the com­plex­i­ty of the mobile envi­ron­ment, which requires opti­miz­ing the expe­ri­ence across mul­ti­ple plat­forms and for both mobile web­sites and apps. The retail­ers who best under­stand how con­sumers are engag­ing in mobile shop­ping behav­iors and design their strate­gies accord­ing­ly will be best posi­tioned to cap­i­tal­ize on these shift­ing mar­ket dynamics.”

Tar­get­ed Spend Keeps Costs Down 

As the big play­ers plough more and more mon­ey into their mobile adver­tis­ing cam­paigns, so small­er busi­ness­es are see­ing the advan­tages of increas­ing their mobile ad spend, but as Dono­van implies, for small­er busi­ness­es with finite bud­gets, cost comes into play.

The flex­i­bil­i­ty offered by mobile phones adver­tis­ing gives SMBs the chance to plan tar­get­ed cam­paigns, with 75% of respon­dents to the Pon­tif­ex poll stat­ing that the abil­i­ty to cre­ate local­ized activ­i­ty was impor­tant, with more empha­sis placed on sign ups than on clicks or impressions.

It cer­tain­ly seems that while small­er busi­ness­es were orig­i­nal­ly slow­er to engage with the mobile adver­tis­ing rev­o­lu­tion, they are now mak­ing their voic­es heard. They want the flex­i­ble ser­vices that meet their needs, a good ROI and to pay the way that makes sense for them.

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