We’ve been talking about Asian market smartphone penetration in the context of the rise of mobile marketing for a few years now. That’s logical, as most of the world’s population lives on in Asia. But what about tiny little England, once the mightiest of superpowers? Their smartphone usage is intense:

  • 85% of respondents — 41 million people – now own or have access to a smartphone;
  • More than half admit to using their phone while walking; 4.5 million while crossing the road;
  • Quarter of 16-19-year-olds respond to messages they receive in the middle of the night;
  • 55-75-year-old ‘silver swipers’ are the fastest-growing adopters of smartphones.

This is from Deloitte UK’s “State of the Smart,” which is their seventh annual survey on smartphone habits. Check out this pull quote:

Paul Lee, head of research for technology, media and telecoms at Deloitte, comments: “Most people can relate to ‘smartphone zombies’, either through being one or bumping into one. But this is just one indication of just how infatuated we are with these devices, for better or worse. While we may be glued to our smartphones, it is important to acknowledge that these devices are also, increasingly, the glue that is binding society together, and will soon become the primary way to communicate, interact and transact with customers and fellow citizens.”

Indeed. Will the UK be at the forefront of some of these trends?

It’s on the rise in the UK

Mobile marketing is definitely on the upswing in the UK, with 122.32 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Mobile retail revenue in the UK hit a peak around 2011-2012, and while it’s stayed close to that ever since, there’s a possibility ad revenue overall will crack 20 billion Euros in 2019.

What would a mobile marketer need to know about the UK market?

A few key things:

  • The UK is a market leader in programmatic digital ad spending, with mobile dominating among channels. Programmatic media buying on mobile will reach 82% of total programmatic ad spend by 2018. It’s definitely a data-driven market, perhaps even more than the US.
  • Advertisers spend a significant amount of their budgets on video and playable ads; it accounts for 37% of all mobile display. Video traditionally has higher retention rates, and marketers in the UK are onto that.
  • Retargeting is a big play, through the standard channels (Facebook, Adobe tools, etc.) and through centralizing marketing channels’ information through different CRMs, DMPs and ad servers (DoubleClick, Sizmek, and others)
  • Average CPI rates in the UK are also relatively high and are comparable to the US – for both Android and iOS. The fact that payouts are high also leads to a increased percentage of mobile ad fraud, as spammers tend to target countries with higher CPI and CPA payouts (like they do in the US, Germany, and Australia).
  • Personalization is an increasing area of growth; UK marketers haven’t mastered it yet, ala many US marketers, but they’re continually trying to get there.

What about the impact of Brexit?

If Brexit goes through, some App Store rates will rise for consumers, which could make the paid market app landscape a bit tougher. The Brexit landscape is increasingly unclear at present, but one potential concern is the UK’s mobile phone test labs. If Brexit goes through, they could be shuttered. Could that halt mobile innovation? And also, subsequently, mobile ad spend?

If you’re based in the UK or market extensively to that area, we’d love to hear from you. What’s the biggest difference vs. US-based marketing? Where do you see challenges and growth opportunities?