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04 August 2015

Mobile ad spend trends from around the world


Mobile advertising can operate through SMS advertising, apps, mobile websites or even mobile search. Through all of these methods, brands are gaining brand awareness, customer loyalty and, ultimately, conversions.

According to the GWI Device Summary, 31% of all web pages are now being served to mobile, a whole 39% increase from last year. These numbers are growing at a staggering rate with predictions that mobile will not only catch up with desktops but overtake them in the near future. But how does this affect businesses’ ad spend around the world?

Five countries, Russia, China, USA, Brazil and UK, were examined with ad-spending statistics provided by eMarketer to demonstrate the growth of mobile advertising and how different countries approach this in regards of advertising.


How long are we spending on our phones?

We Are Social compiled a report to demonstrate usage figures from around the world. Brazilians spend three hours 47 minutes a day browsing the internet via a mobile phone, which is only an hour and a half behind the daily use of internet via desktop. This is the highest length of time in comparison of the four other focus countries, both on mobile and on desktop.

China comes in second with phone users spending two hours and 35 minutes daily using internet on mobile in comparison to three hours 52 minutes on desktop. Both UK and German’s residents spent an hour and 52 minutes on mobile internet. These similar low figures show that European giants still have room for growth in terms of mobile device use.

Of all studied countries, Russia comes last with just an hour and 42 minutes spent using the internet on the mobile; however the desktop figure is much higher with four hours and 47 minutes spent daily.

Russia’s lagging mobile sites

In Russia there are 245.2 million mobile connections, with 33% of the population being mobile internet users. There is an ongoing issue of brands not adapting their site for mobiles, as there is a general opinion that there is a lack of serious mobile data traffic.

Therefore a vicious circle has emerged, the site is not adapted for mobile use and therefore users are not visiting the site. Brands need to take the step into adapting for mobiles, which in turn will create more visitors and utilise the emerging numbers of smartphone users in Russia.

In terms of the five studied countries, Russia is the lowest on the list with considerably less spent on mobile Internet ads. However, there has been a huge 120% rise in spending in 2014-2015, which is signifying that businesses are recognising the rise of mobile and are trying to capitalise on this. Yandex. Direct has now improved its mobile advertising, so now digital advertisers can not only adjust their bids for mobile users but create special mobile ads.

China spearheading mobile ads

In China there are one billion, three hundred million mobile connections, with 41% mobile internet users as a percentage of the total population. China has managed to hit the number two spot in mobile advertising spending this year due to the rapid growth of the country and increase in popularity of the low-priced domestic smartphone manufacturers ZTE and Xiaomi. Brands will need to keep pace by spending more on mobile advertising campaigns. Therefore it is predicted that there will be a further 58% increase in the year 2016.

Germany holding back on ad spend

In Germany there are 111.6 million mobile connections, with 48% of them being mobile internet users. Therefore showing that usage of mobile devices is shooting up in Germany, but the ad spending on mobile devices still remains disproportionate. In terms of German and UK spend, the UK still overshadows Germany by spending double the amount of money. The overall spend for mobile ads in Germany is 7.6% of the total media ad spending, which is still fairly low for a top economic country, therefore showing that the traditional advertising methods still prevail. However, there is a predicted rise of further 46% in the year 2016, which is sure to keep Germany in the top five mobile internet ad spending countries in the world.

Brazil’s BRIC status boosts mobile

In Brazil, 39% of the 276 million strong population are mobile internet users. Brazil boasts a 120% rise over the previous year in mobile internet ad spending. This is due, no doubt, to the emerging status of Brazil as a BRIC country and the World Cup. However, that growth is from a very small base and overall the actual spend is $549M, which still only ranks them 12th in the world. However, with a forecasted rise of another 85% in the year 2016, Brazil is soon to be amongst the top 10 mobile ad spending countries in the world.

UK’s matured mobile status

In UK there are 74.8 million mobile connections, with 58% mobile internet users as a percentage of the total population. Mobile accounts for 20% of total media spend in the UK this year and by the year 2016 it is predicted that mobile ad spend will increase by 35%. The growth is not as significant as Brazil’s or Russia’s, however the UK is well established in terms of mobile browsing and usage and is already third on the list in total mobile ad spending with $5.37B.

According to the latest research from IMRG and Capgemini, 40% of UK online retail sales were completed by a mobile device (Q4 2014/15 November – January). The figures are shifting towards mobile year-by-year and businesses are recognising this in the UK with a proportional rise in mobile ad spend.

Retailers have been improving their mobile sites by making them more user friendly and creating the ideal, secured platforms for consumers to shop in. There is a shift from mobiles being online window shopping platforms and consumers are using mobile devices to make more actual purchases. With this shift into the digital age becoming more prominent, businesses must start spending more on mobiles and less on print ads. Russia has the most work to do to catch up with the rest of these countries. As the economy is finally beginning to stabilise, there is still work to be done in improving Russia’s m-commerce first and creating mobile-friendly sites. This in turn will boost mobile commerce traffic and encourage businesses to spend more on mobile advertising. 

By Joseph Hill, Content & Online PR Executive, Search Laboratory


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