Why brands need to budget for mobile

The numbers don’t lie – with penetration rates of 92% and 60% respectively, Singapore’s smartphone and tablet penetration rates rank amongst the highest in the Asia-Pacific region. Here’s more number crunching: Singapore’s 5.4 million population accounts for some 8.3 million mobile subscriptions so it’s unsurprising that mobile advertising in our little red dot is projected to grow by 20% CAGR by 2018.

With the slew of devices that web users are exposed to, eight in 10 advertisers have acknowledged that they should keep up with online users and incorporate mobile. However, the reality pales in comparison. Less than 40% have utilised mobile advertising as a regular marketing channel.

If you are not convinced why it makes sense to invest in mobile advertising, here are three reasons to debunk existing perceptions.

1. Mobile is a lifestyle

In 2013, time spent on smartphones and tablets exceeded other mediums and devices by 44 minutes.

Consumers in Singapore are often found using mobile devices to consume multimedia content on-the-go, uploading pictures onto social networks, and utilising a variety of applications for entertainment or to add convenience to their daily lives[6].

As media consumption fragments across devices and platforms, consumers demand personalised experiences in terms of when and what content engages them on their chosen devices, a phenomenon known as ‘my media’. Consumers have started abandoning traditional media, accessing content they want via cheaper, Internet-based content services. Consumers’ growing use of the ‘second screen’ to share the experience of TV and other content with friends in real time, often via social media, has also reduced the attention paid to advertisements aired during TV commercial breaks[7].

While television will remain a key medium for advertisers, mobile creates more effective engagement within a space where consumers are spending a majority of their recreational time. Marketers need to incorporate mobile as part of a wider and more comprehensive marketing strategy.

2. Mobile may be your last puzzle piece in an integrated marketing strategy

In Singapore, 71 percent of marketers have tried engaging consumers via mobile but the majority are not optimising its potential by using its full range of marketing tactics. SMS is still only being used by 28% of brands, and only 7% use both SMS and MMS. Marketers are also not operating in many other channels, such as email, mobile social networks and in-app advertising.

In addition, mobile devices will soon become a digital replacement for almost everything consumers carry in their pockets and wallets – cash, credit and debit cards, passes, receipts, vouchers, tickets and loyalty cards in Singapore. By 2018, mobile based social marketing, app development and mobile based content will also be the most used channels globally. Marketers need to keep up with local consumer trends and global developments in advertising technology, and be present in the various marketing channels available to engage customers across multiple touchpoints.

3. Mobile is tried and tested

Finally, of marketers who are already using mobile in Singapore, 33% currently receive up to a quarter of their sales by advertising on mobile devices. Of those who have tried and tested the channel, 83% rated their most recent mobile campaign as effective.

By 2018, mobile is also projected to overtake all other digital channels as the most effective way to reach and engage with consumers. Mobile is tried and tested, and most importantly, it works. There is no better time than now for advertisers to take advantage of the upsurge in mobile device usage and realise the numerous business opportunities that mobile advertising has created.

The writer is Anthony Shiner, Chief Revenue Officer at Group Digital Life, SingTel