Mobile marketing important but still not getting the budget

New report from Warc and the Mobile Marketing Association finds three-quarters of Asia-Pacific marketers surveyed still don't have formal mobile strategies in palce

Most marketers are aware of the importance of mobile marketing channels but nearly three quarters don’t have a formal mobile strategy in place, a new report claims.

The latest State of the Industry: Mobile marketing in Asia-Pacific study, conducted by Warc in association with the Festival of Media Asia Pacific and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), found 91 per cent of respondents recognise the importance of mobile marketing today, yet 78 per cent allocate less than 10 per cent of their marketing budgets to such activities.

In addition, 71 per cent of agencies claimed most of their clients don’t have a formal mobile strategy in place. This compared to 44 per cent of brand owners claiming a formal strategy. Where formal processes have been adopted, 40 per cent reported close integration of mobile in marketing campaigns, up from 27 per cent last year.

Yet despite this, 62 per cent of those surveyed seldom use mobile to gauge audience interest and engagement in other advertising campaigns, the report claimed.

“It’s clear from the study that there is still a long way to go before brands and agencies in Asia-Pacific understand the full potential of mobile for reaching consumers,” Warc Asia-Pacific managing director, Edward Pank, commented.

“It is encouraging to see, however, that those brands that have taken the leap are now learning to use mobile in innovative ways that integrate with other marketing activities, demonstrating mobile’s gradual move from the periphery to the centrepiece of marketing strategies.”

Like many areas of digital and data-driven marketing, skills in relation to technology was cited as the major barrier to adoption, beating consumer concerns regarding privacy as the main inhibitor to mobile marketing growth this year. Reliable metrics were also an issue.

Another area analysed was programmatic buying, or the automatic buying and selling of display ads. Programmatic buying is expected to become more important to marketing strategies by 2019, despite the fact that 52 per cent of the report’s respondents have little or no knowledge of it at present.

Warc’s research was based on 316 responses to a survey conducted in January 2014 across 24 Asia-Pacific markets. Australia came in fourth in terms of the most innovative markets for mobile after China, Singapore and Japan.

The report also found location-based marketing is considered crucial to both current and future marketing activities across the region, and multi-screening is now viewed as the most significant mobile consumer behaviour.

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As mobile gains ground as a primary marketing channel, budget percentage is expected by the majority of marketers to increase by up to 30 per cent by 2019. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents to the survey believe budgets will rise by more than 50 per cent in five years’ time.

Last year, a former MMA study across Asia-Pacific on mobile marketing found 90 per cent of respondents predicted mobile budgets would rise substantially, with 34 per cent expecting growth of up to 75 per cent.

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