graphicsSmartphone adoption and a sharp rise in mobile Internet usage are poised to invigorate Western Europe’s mobile marketing landscape. As more industry verticals embark on mobile campaigns and marketers shift their focus from one-off experiments to ongoing execution, mobile ad spending is set to increase.

This is the key finding of Western Europe Mobile: Trends, Case Studies and Best Practices, a new report from eMarketer that summarizes the European landscape and shows how major brands (BMW, Lufthansa, M&S) are leading the way with mobile marketing campaigns aimed at attracting and retaining customers.

Fortunately, the interest of brands in mobile marketing and the willingness of consumers in Europe to interact with brands on their mobile phones is perfectly aligned. A major factor playing in favor of this new phase in mobile marketing: smartphone penetration.

emarketer eu-5 smartphone

eMarketer predicts that the number of mobile users in the EU-5 accessing the web from their phones will double from 2010 to 2015, reaching 94 million. App and browser usage rates are also rising as more users go online with their mobile devices. These trends are giving marketers new options to connect with customers.

Brands grasp mobile marketing opportunity

As a result, marketer strategies are increasingly sophisticated and comprehensive, comprising solutions that address every phase of the purchase cycle, including adherence to permission-based marketing best practices.

As eMarketer sees it: a greater number and variety of European brands are rising to the challenge — and mobile ad spending is set to rise accordingly across the region.

Another trend emerging worldwide is growth in the number of industry sectors harnessing mobile to deliver their brand message.

Once the territory of global consumer-focused brands, mobile marketing is now a main focus for industry verticals including retail, automotive and travel. The first report to identify and quantify this mobile mega-trend (aptly titled Vertical Explosion) the comes from mobile ad network Millennial Media. In its December 2010 SMART (Scorecard for Mobile Advertising Reach and Targeting ) report Millennial Media draws from insight and analysis delivered from campaigns running on its mobile ad network to conclude that more verticals are focusing more on mobile to achieve their business objectives.

According to the report, the financial services category grew an eye-opening 802 percent year-over-year (for the period Q3 2010 vs. Q3 2009). Meantime, Retail and Restaurants jumped up 745 percent, and Telecommunications was right behind with 719 percent growth. And the growth continues.

eMarketer report

This new eMarketer gets past the supporting data to list key case studies and learnings that point to a new phase in mobile marketing.

Key questions this report answers:

  • What are the most significant characteristics of the European mobile market?
  • How are the attitudes of European mobile consumers evolving?
  • To what extent is mobile marketing changing as the endgame shifts from promotion to transaction?
  • What will the impact be as more industries leverage mobile to engage with consumers?
  • How will debates about consumer privacy and the rise of permission-based marketing affect mobile advertising strategies?

eMarketer report

My Take:

More brands are getting involved. But — more importantly — they are also changing the nature of the game, moving from one-off promotion campaigns focused on brand awareness to ongoing campaigns aimed at driving customer engagement. In a world where mobile is at the center of all we do, brands can use mobile to do much more than simply boost awareness. They can wield mobile to entice consumers to have a more engaged relationship and a more valuable connection with the brand 24/7.

Disclosure: I am proud to have collaborated with eMarketer on this report and extend my personal thanks to the brands, agencies and ad networks that provided their support and insights:  Stephanie Renda (match2blue), Torsten Wingenter (Lufthansa), Rob Jonas (inMobi), James Lamberti (inMobi), Mark Waechter (BVDW chairman), Gavin Stirrat (Millennial Media), Paul Berney, (Mobile Marketing Association), Alex Meisl (Sponge Ltd), Paul Childs (Adfonic), Tim Dunn, (Mobile Interactive Group), Tom Nawara (Acquity Group), Thomas Labarthe (Alcatel-Lucent), David Sheridan (OpenMarket), Sienne Veit (Marks & Spencer) and Florian Resinger (BMW).