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Are you making a mistake by advertising on mobile phones?

As Internet users switch from desktop to mobile devices – and new users go straight to mobile – online advertising is making the same switch.

Advertising on mobile devices is rising at a meteoric rate and is taking market share from all most other media.

Mobile ad spend grew 35% in 2017, and as per a study, it is expected it to grow at an average rate of 21% a year to 2020.


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According to Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts, mobile advertising will account for 30.5% of global advertising expenditure in 2020, up from 19.2% in 2017.

Expenditure on mobile advertising will total $187bn in 2020, more than twice the US$88bn spent on desktop advertising and just $5bn behind the $192bn spent on television advertising.

At the current rate of growth, mobile advertising will comfortably overtake television in 2021, forecasts Zenith.


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A mistake or a boon?

However, brands that are shifting budgets to mobile advertising may be affecting their ability to win new customers and expand their market share.

Zenith’s Touchpoints ROI Tracker research shows that traditional mass media are more effective at driving recall among new or light buyers, therefore having a strong understanding of acquisition channels and retention channels is key.

According to Touchpoints ROI Tracker, television ads are most effective at driving recall among potential customers, while mobile ads are least effective. Potential customers are 53% as likely to recall television ads as existing customers, but for mobile ads, this falls to 41%.


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Targeting mobile ads at existing customers can certainly help brands achieve short-term performance targets, especially because mobile is increasingly tying together the whole consumer journey.

However, mobile is currently less effective at creating long-term awareness among potential customers than traditional media, so brands with a heavy mobile presence should consider investing more in traditional mass media to compensate for this.