Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Introducing NDA’s Mobile Month: The State of Play Today

It’s official: in a year where the world was told to stay put, mobile usage skyrocketed.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United Kingdom, 46% of respondents to a Statista survey conducted at the end of July 2020 said they had increased their smartphone use.

And Ofcom reported that the average mobile call in the initial weeks of lockdown lasted 5 minutes and 26 seconds, up from just 3 minutes 40 seconds before social and working restriction began.

But it is not just mobile’s ‘traditional’ usage that surged, but many other things such as gaming, m-commerce and internet use, too.

From phone to everything in between

In fact, a mobile gaming study by Toluna released this month shows gaming has increased “significantly” in the past year. It surveyed 1,060 UK mobile gamers or those interested in mobile gaming aged 16-45 and found more than half (53%) were spending more time playing on their mobile devices than a year ago. Puzzles top the list for most popular mobile game and 43% of people made in app game purchases, doing it almost twice a week.

By the end of the year, globally, more than half of internet usage came from mobiles: 55.73% in December, against 41.46% on desktop and just 2.81% on tablets, according to Statcounter.

Apps, too, continue to surge in popularity with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat combined having more than 4bn active users per month, according to Statista, while Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp delivers some 100bn messages each day.

Little wonder that a recent US study by Forrester showed that marketers were moving spend to mobile in droves, estimating that mobile ad spend would account for 64% of total digital ad spend across search, social, display and video in 2020. It reported that: “Mobile has drastically changed modern marketing,” adding that it is the consumer’s primary and preferred device.

The promise of 5G

We can also expect 5G usage to continue to grow, especially now that Apple has a 5G-compliant product and UK operators continue to rollout coverage to towns and cities, although progress and uptake is expected to remain slow. When it reaches the mainstream, it could prove a game-changer for advertisers because of its latency. In addition to delivering faster connections and greater capacity, a huge advantage of 5G is the fast response time of1 millisecond, virtually instantaneous opening up a new world of connected applications.

Yet it is not just mobile’s future as an advertising channel that has brands excited: technology such as location services are opening up next generation planning and analytics.

Over the course of this month, New Digital Age will be digging deep into the opportunities available, with podcasts, roundtables, features, news and views on every aspect of our most personal device.