Mobile’s impact on the UK ad industry has been thrusted into the spotlight, as smartphones and tablets head towards the 50%+ mark for a range of key metrics.

Updated figures for online ad impressions, clicks, spend and conversions from Marin software have mobile edging closer to the all-important majority stakes across the board – far above levels seen in the rest of Europe and the US.

According to the findings, mobile now drives 44.8% of ad impressions and accounts for precisely 50% of clicks in the UK. Smartphones and tablets are also reeling in 46% of ad spend, with 43% of all conversions coming from mobile devices. 

The data is based on analysis of mobile’s performance within three prime online ad channels: search, display and social media. 

New findings

Mobile’s contribution to advertising appears to be running in tandem with growth in the number of registered device owners across the globe. 

Data from eMarketer points to a 27% rise in smartphone and tablet penetration between 2013 and 2014, with Marin tipping this to have an impact on mobile ad spend in key markets.  

Displaying growth

On the display side of things, smartphones are seeing a notable rise in their share of ad clicks, with Marin predicting this to surpass the 50% mark by the end of the year. 

Smartphones and tablets are also making a noticeable impact on conversions as more and more consumers choose to not only research, but buy products with their mobile devices. 

Proceed with caution

Marin does however warn that if UK marketers want to piggyback on mobile’s growth on the conversion side of things, particularly for tablets, they’ll have to pay up.   

“It’s interesting to see Brits forging ahead of the rest of Europe and the US in terms of tablet usage. However, the cost of clicks on these devices is still relatively high,” stated Jon Myers, VP and MD at Martin Software’s EMEA division.

There still is value to be had in mobile advertising, though, so long as marketers pick the right devices to target.   

“The smart choice for advertisers in 2015 will be to optimise their spend toward smartphone devices,” adds Myers. 

“The rate of clicks goes up significantly every quarter but the cost has remained low compared to both desktop and tablets.”