Advertising is a curious beast. Some years ago, at the dawn of the internet era, many wrote it off as finished. Why would anyone watch ads when they could get exactly what they wanted online and appeared to be prepared to pay for it. Then people started pirating and things began to look very different.
Now, nearly 20 years on, we see advertising a crucial part of the online entertainment mix. Not only is it the funding that drives much of it (still!) it is also now an accepted part of the ‘experience’ among the youngsters.
This is very much brought out in the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK / PwC Digital Adspend report, which shows that digital advertising is now a £10billion a year industry in the UK. And it is being driven by mobile. According to the IAB stats, almost half (48%) of UK internet time is now spent on smartphones and so mobile ad spend rose 50.8% to £3.87billion.
In fact, mobile now accounts for 38% of all digital ad spend, up from 4% just five years ago.
However, it accounts for 63% of video spend, 76% of Content & Native (including social media news feeds) and 79% of social media spend.
The rise in mobile video ad budgets reflects online YouGov data showing that in the last six months, 54% of British smartphone users watched video clips on their phone, with two-in-five of these saying they do more of this than a year ago. A significant number have also watched TV programmes (17%) and films (11%) on their smartphones. This behaviour is much more prevalent among 18-24 year olds, with 75% watching short clips, 44% watching TV and 33% watching films on mobiles. Six-in-10 people who watched short clips, TV or Film on their phone did so whilst ‘out and about.’
This move to mobile by both eyeballs and ad men is increasingly being reflected in how advertising technology is also put to work. Affiliate marketing is also tuning in to the mobile boom. Intertops, one of the most established online and mobile casino, poker and sportsbook operators, has launched a brand new affiliate platform, which is fully optimised for mobile and tablet devices, meaning affiliates can access all the program’s features and tools while on the go.
All this taps into an increasingly mobile consumer. According to the Masterindex 2017, a new Mastercard report on e-commerce and payment trends, one in four Europeans with access to the internet purchased products or services online at least once a week in 2016.
According to the wide-ranging study of ecommerce habits, for one in three European online shoppers cards and online banking are the most used form of online payment from mobiles. Just under a fifth use online banking apps and only two per cent use digital currency.
This combination of mobile eyeballs, mobile advertising and mobile payments makes for a powerful mix, bring together an audience not only receptive to being shown stuff they want to buy, but are also able to buy it there and then.
And this is what makes advertising so relevant in 2017. Where once we thought advertising would fade and die, it has evolved to tune into this always-on, experiential way of living – and now the immediate payment mechanism is also there to close the circle. Surely we are in for a boom time?