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As the British Embrace Mobile Internet, Marketers Follow

The mobile marketing channel is gaining momentum in the UK. Why now? Over one in four British consumers owns a media tablet, as advertisers spent a record £6.3 billion in 2013 to reach people via the mobile internet, according to a market study for the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB), conducted by PwC.

Over one third (36%) of people accessing the internet are now doing so via their personal tablets, as tablet ownership grew 63% year-on-year from 11.0 million to 17.9 million Britons in February 2014.

Almost six in 10 (57%) tablet owners online say it's their go-to device to browse the internet at home. Two-thirds of owners (66%) say it’s easier to go online using a tablet. Almost two-thirds (65%) like to use them while watching TV.

Survey data shows that advertising on the internet and mobile phones overall increased, like-for-like, by 15.2% or £853 million to £6.30 billion in 2013 -- that's up from £5.45 billion in 2012.

"Digital advertising continues to grow at impressive rates simply because marketers are becoming more responsive and savvy to the increasing ways people consume content across different devices," says Tim Elkington, director of research & strategy at the UK Internet Advertising Bureau.

Among media owners who submitted revenue data to the IAB/PwC study, tablet-dedicated advertising has grown over 400% to reach at least £34.4 million in 2013 -- that's up from £6.8 million in 2012.

With smartphones now accounting for over three quarters (76%) of handsets in the UK, advertisers are continuing to invest more in mobile advertising. It grew, like-for-like, by 93% to £1.03 billion in 2013 from £529 million in 2012.

Mobile now accounts for 16% of all digital advertising spend – £1 in every £6 – compared to 10% in 2012.

Social media advertising spend on mobile increased to £221.8 million in 2013. Across digital overall, social media advertising grew 71% to £588.4 million. Consequently, the mobile channel now accounts for over one third (35%) of total digital social media advertising.

"Mobile is now more of a storytelling tool for advertisers rather than just an information device. Almost half of mobile ad spend is accounted for by TVs biggest advertiser categories – consumer goods and entertainment brands – which is testament to how important mobile has become for brands," said Dan Bunyan, the market study manager at PwC.

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