6 Trends: The UK Mobile Marketing Landscape | AppsFlyer
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6 Trends Shaping the UK Mobile Marketing Landscape in 2017

Inbal Dovrat Mar 30, 2017

The British are well known for their passion for football (soccer, not American football). The first question often asked upon introduction is ‘who do you support?’, which refers to the person’s favorite (or is it favourite) football club. Another thing Brits are passionate about, it seems, is their smartphone.

Consumers in the UK are big mobile app users and are considered relatively savvy. To meet their needs and their increasingly high expectations, the local mobile marketing players are making strides as far as innovation is concerned. In fact, according to Zenith, the UK is the second-most-advanced mobile advertising market. This year it will be the only other market where mobile accounts for more than half – 51% – of internet advertising, and where more advertising expenditure goes to mobile than any other medium.

So which factors are pushing the UK mobile market forward? Here are 6 trends that are shaping the landscape this year:

1) Sky high mobile usage
According to a report from Deloitte, UK users are addicted to their smartphones and this addiction is only growing. In fact, 4 out of 5 UK adults have a smartphone – That’s 42 million people. How addicted you ask? No less than 33% check their phone 5 minutes after waking up, while the same percentage of UK adults (and half of 18-24 year olds) check their phones in the middle of the night as well.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the UK, alongside the US and Canada, is among the most advanced countries in the world in terms of mobile and internet usage.

Naturally, marketers pursue these UK smartphone-focused consumers, and according to eMarketer’s latest UK mobile ad spending forecast, this will lead to a significant 27% growth in ad spend to reach $8.6 billion in 2017.

uk mobile ad spend

2) Advanced mobile ad market
The mobile advertising market in the UK is becoming increasingly similar to the one across the Atlantic in the US. This includes promotion channels, usage of advanced ad formats, and overall sophistication of campaigns:

  • Programmatic media buying – The UK is a market leader in programmatic digital ad spending, with mobile dominating among channels. Programmatic media buying on mobile will reach a staggering 82% of total programmatic ad spend by 2018, when mobile will account for $4.89 billion in spending. This stat clearly shows just how data-driven mobile marketers are in the UK.
  • Video/playable ads – Advertisers are spending a significant amount of their budgets on video and playable ads. This goes to show that UK marketers truly understand the central role engagement is playing in today’s marketplace and its dwindling retention rates. Video is enjoying the largest growth of all formats in UK, accounting for 37% of all mobile display.
  • Retargeting – As an advanced, mature market, UK advertisers are making the most out of their data by targeting their existing audience with relevant messages (using audience features from Facebook, Adobe, Oracle, and more). Many advertisers are also making sure that they connect and centralize all their marketing channels’ information through different CRMs, DMPs and ad servers (DoubleClick, Sizmek, and others)
  • Average CPI rates in the UK are also relatively high and are comparable to the US – for both Android and iOS. The fact that payouts are high also leads to a increased percentage of mobile ad fraud, as bad actors target countries with higher CPI and CPA payouts (like they do in the US, Germany, and Australia)

fraud map1

  • Overall, the media landscape in the UK is comprised of the most dominant media sources in the world, as the recent AppsFlyer Performance Index shows: Facebook, Google, ironSource, Tapjoy, AppLovin, Unity, Fyber, Vungle, AdColony, and others
  • The UK is also an agency-driven market, where many big brands and companies, from all verticals, are using agencies to run their marketing (both online and offline). These include GroupM, Dentsu Aegis, Omnicom, Publicis and independent ones like MC Saatchi, Somo and The Specialist Works
  • Major ad networks and agencies recognize the fact that the UK market is similar to the advanced US market, opening offices and international headquarters in London (Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Appboy, Mixpanel, AppLovin, Pinterest, Taptica, Omnicom and GroupM)

3) The “mobile second” shift
In an attempt to catch the mobile wave, “mobile second” companies – mostly traditional companies who started offline and even on desktop – are now focusing their efforts on mobile advertising and the development of their own apps. Among these companies are Sainsbury’s, The Telegraph, Metro, Penguin Books, and many more.

Banks are also assigning a much greater share of their marketing budget to mobile, aggressively pushing their existing user base to their mobile apps as a central touchpoint with their audience. Compliance, data privacy and security are becoming an integral part of their mobile activity in general, and their integration with attribution partners in particular.

4) The media shift phenomenon
Media companies are also adding new capabilities to their offering in order to accommodate app advertisers from different verticals or with specific mobile campaign targets. For example, many major partners of ours that used to focus only on gaming are shifting to non-gaming apps as well (Vungle, AppLovin, Tapjoy and Chartboost, to name a few) and vice versa. Also, companies that used to specialize in retargeting, are now investing in user acquisition capabilities.

5) Cross device & omni-channel marketing
Extensive usage of the internet and mobile has also led to a change in the retail sector. A third of UK consumers use multiple channels and devices in order to shop, according to Deloitte. Consumers are taking advantage of the new available technologies to purchase online more often, creating a great opportunity for retailers to reach out to them in sophisticated ways.

UK retailers respond to this trend by making concerted efforts to create a personalised and seamless user experience across touchpoints including desktop, mobile and brick & mortar locations. Although omni-channel marketing is a significant challenge for marketers in the UK as it is elsewhere, we’re seeing more dots being connected all the time – which is good news for the industry at large.

6) Don’t let Brexit scare you
Even though we’ve heard some projections that Brexit’s impact on UK’s advertising industry will be negative as foreign advertisers might pull their budgets, the reality (so far at least) tells a different story. There was actually an increase of 13% in the number of companies increasing their ad budgets in Q4 2016. Mobile will continue to dominate thanks to UK users’ innovative behavior, which drives advertisers to provide the best value to their customers by using the right creatives, channels, and personalised messages.

To sum up, the mobile market in the UK is one of the world’s most advanced and sophisticated, and will continue to grow significantly. eMarketer predicts that mobile ad spend in the UK will reach almost $9.45 billion this year to represent more than a third of UK media advertising investment.

If you’re an app owner – make sure to promote it in the UK especially if your app is already running in the US (it always helps when very little localization is required). If you’re an ad network – join the party and offer relevant ad formats and capabilities to the smart app developers in the region.