Mobile ad spend soars to £203m

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The explosion in popularity of Apple and Google’s app stores and soaring sales of tablets helped fuel a 157% year-on-year increase in mobile advertising spend to more than £200m in the UK in 2011.

UK mobile advertising hit £203m in 2011, up from just £83m in 2010, thanks to a new generation of consumers comfortable spreading their media consumption over two or even three devices – from laptops to smartphones and tablets.

The phenomenon, which has been helped by cheaper data tariffs and the rise of Wi-Fi and 3G, has sparked huge interest in companies looking to target consumers with advertising.

The latest report by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the most dramatic increase in spend on display advertising which rose 186% year-on-year to £68.9m, up from just £28m in 2010, to account for about a third of total mobile ad spend.

Spend on display advertising has increased five-fold since 2008, rising in line with the growing popularity of mobile apps, which were first made available through Apple and Google’s stores in the same year.

The report found that 54% of all mobile display advertising is now on apps, some £38m, with the rest spent on ads that appear when users access mobile internet browsers.

Mobile search advertising also showed strong growth up 145% year on year to £134.4m, compared with just £54.9m in 2010, with a growth rate nearly tenfold in the past three years.

“This study proves just how ingrained mobile has become within both brands’ and consumers’ day-to-day lives,” said the IAB director of mobile operations, John Mew. “It is no surprise to see mobile advertising continuing to grow at such an overwhelming and encouraging rate.”

2008: £25.45m

2009: £37.6m, up 32% year on year

2010: £83m, up 116% year on year

2011: £203m, up 157% year on year