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How mobile advertising can help brands to steal Christmas 2015

Traditionally, of course, you might have been forgiven for thinking that it’s the conventional time of year to visit your local high street to buy gifts for loved ones, often at knockdown prices. Well, that’s all about to change, as online spending and mobile purchasing are taking off. If the end of 2014 told us anything, it’s that ‘publicised’ shopping days, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, have been all the rage, and figures show that mobile has dominated web traffic on these days. Indeed, a massive 59.8 per cent of all UK web traffic was on mobile devices during Black Friday, followed closely by 55 per cent on Cyber Monday.

This is so much so that, as 2014 drew to a close, fears even arose over the future of Christmas television, with more people than ever watching content on their smartphones and tablets. What’s more, even the most the recognised high street retailers, such as Asda and Starbucks, have started to place greater emphasis than ever before on using mobile to drive customers through their doors. All this points to the fact that the UK has recognised the power of the mobile device and is leading the way.

With that in mind, retailers, publishers and advertisers cannot let up. But with mobile devices changing the way we behave and shop, isn’t it worth asking the question whether brands are doing enough to ensure that they are able to make the most of this opportunity? Customers are becoming more accustomed to browsing and purchasing at the click of the button, which means that, from a brand perspective, knowing who to target is imperative. For example, 62 per cent of British mums are shopping every week on their smartphones. So, knowing what they like to buy and in which particular department store can help brands to understand their audience, ensuring they are ahead of the game and can capitalise on this mobile opportunity.

Maximising the potential of the physical mobile device is also imperative. Too often, we think of these devices as being good for audio or visual, not both. But it’s time we acknowledged every function. It’s easy to forget that, today, we all effectively have miniature computers in our pockets with processing power that is greater than was ever used to power the moon landings! However, much of this power remains untapped by advertisers. Audio streaming is not yet at scale, and the same is true of the ‘second screen phenomenon’. Both of these options allow advertisers to access consumers at home or abroad – a glorious opportunity – so why haven’t advertisers invested more heavily in them?

The festive period and the opportunities that Christmas presents only come around once a year, so advertisers know that they need to make the most of it. But this trend is not about to slow. In fact, we’re currently on course to become the first country in the world where over 50 per cent of advertising spend will be on digital and online content, reaching £15.7bn in 2015, according to recent research. The UK is obviously a nation in love with all things digital, advertisers just have to make it easier for them to enjoy!

Despite the fact that the mobile opportunity has never been greater, too many brands are not making the most of it. If brands are to steal Christmas 2015, and the rest of the festive period, from the hands of their competitors, they need to provide more engaging content and embrace the opportunities presented by audio streaming and second screen advertising in order to drive better engagement. Perhaps this time next year, when we think of Christmas, our first thought will be to consider our smartphones?