The Steady Rise of UK Mobile Phone Usage

According to a recent study conducted by Deloitte, just nine years after the launch of the first full touchscreen, the UK has reached “peak smartphone usage.” Though the reasons for usage range from banking to shopping online and selfies, it’s clear that smartphones have become a fixture of daily life in the UK. In fact, according to the study, 91 percent of UK adults are smartphone users.

As mobile phone ownership becomes the norm, smartphones are increasingly used for online searches that were once predominantly conducted on desktop. This past November it was announced that mobile web browsing had overtaken desktop for the first time in the UK.

Smartphone Usage in the UK

One of the most important aspects of UK mobile phone usage is how consumers are using their smartphones. According to Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report, 33 percent of users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online. The report also found that of those who own a smartphone, nearly two hours of their day are spent browsing the internet, accessing social media, banking, and shopping online via their phone. This study also found that the surge in mobile usage has a lot to do with the increasing quickness of mobile broadband – providing faster online access for smartphone users.

The increase in smartphone usage, particularly for making purchases and conducting online searches, is definitely worth studying. Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter, the global stats organization that initially reported mobile browsing overtaking desktop, agrees:  “This should be a wake-up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not.”

Challenges for Mobile Search Marketing

The increase in smartphone usage is a great opportunity for UK digital marketers to reach a captive audience, but it also creates challenges when it comes to attribution and optimization of mobile marketing campaigns.

There’s been a recent push to close the gap between tracking online and offline marketing channels in the UK. In a study conducted by eMarketer on UK digital marketing managers, only one in three said their online marketing approach was completely integrated with their offline efforts. Other responses indicated that UK digital marketing managers wanted to close the online-offline gap this year; improving the integration of online and offline marketing efforts was ranked as the most important goal for those marketers.

In another study conducted on UK marketers, 42 percent said the biggest barrier to accurate revenue attribution was integrating data from multiple databases. Only seven percent of marketers surveyed said they had no challenges attributing revenue to the correct channels.

Opportunities for Mobile Marketing

Despite challenges with attribution, digital marketers in the UK are starting to take advantage of mobile marketing. Back in 2015, it was reported that less than 30 percent of digital ad spend went towards mobile marketing in the UK, even though consumers spend more time-consuming media on their mobile phones than on any other advice.

Since then, mobile ad spending in the UK continues to show significant growth, with eMarketer reporting that it’s expected to rise 96 percent this year to GBP £2 billion (US $3.16 billion). The report also predicts that by next year, mobile will claim almost 40 percent of total paid media spending in the UK.

One example of a successful mobile marketing campaign was Orange Network’s idea to create more value for consumers by partnering with cinemas in the UK to give customers a free movie ticket on Wednesday if they purchased one first. The mobile campaign was extremely successful: Wednesdays were once the least popular day to go the movies in the UK since new releases are typically on a Thursday or Friday, but now they’re becoming one of the most popular with a 14 percent weekly market share. This is a great example of how powerful mobile is in impacting customer behavior.

Interested in tracking your mobile marketing campaigns in the UK? From your efforts online to those offline, CallRail is here to help you learn what’s working with call tracking phone numbers for SMS, PPC, and click-to-call campaigns. Get started now with our free trial!

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