Digital is thriving - get your piece of the cake

Amanda Crowley

Let's face it. As a small business owner, your time, attention and budget are all likely stretched thin. In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world, it can be confusing - and sometimes scary - to invest in digital advertising. But fear not! Digital is actually the best way to reach, engage and wow consumers, and is something that doesn't need to be reserved for the large, multi-million pound corporations.

Within the UK, the digital advertising market continues to show exceptional growth. In 2016, digital was the largest media channel, accounting for 48% of the annual ad spend at £10.3 billion, up 17.3% year-on-year. Mobile now accounts for more than 50% of display advertising, and both video and social formats are growing.

Mobile is a great vehicle to connect with consumers, and has helped boost overall audiences and time spent online. In fact, people are spending more time online on a smartphone than any other device.

Interestingly (although likely not surprising) parents spend a greater share of their time online on mobile devices than non-parents and mums are more likely to be mobile-only consumers. If you’re targeting this audience, you’ll want to know that 80% of mobile time spent online is via an app, rather than a mobile browser, so having an app for your business is ideal.

But focusing solely on mobile would be a mistake because mobile is complementary to desktop. Most (75%) of UK adults use both a mobile device and PC, and desktops still have the largest monthly adult audiences.

So, what does this all mean? It’s imperative for business owners to follow their customers march towards digital media, by delivering basics such as a website optimised for both desktop and mobile devices.

Digital can seem daunting because it’s the most complex and rich medium we’ve ever seen. But think about it from a user’s point of view and remember that users are people and that the objective of your digital advertising is to reach them, change their behaviours and, ultimately, drive purchase intent.

Desktop sessions, on average, are three times longer than mobile sessions, though platform time varies by content. For complex content and high consideration/value purchases – like cars, jewellery and banking – consumers will more often than not use a desktop to research their potential purchase thanks in part to its larger screen.

For lower consideration products, consumers are increasingly turning to online for their shopping needs, and this has had a huge impact on the traditional retail market. It’s estimated that more than 11,000 brick and mortar retail stores have closed over the last ten years in the UK alone.

As consumers change their shopping preferences, digital is an effective tool to impact both in-store and online sales.

Like anything new, you’ll probably need to test a few options before you find the perfect mix of elements to reach your unique consumers. But one of the great benefits of digital is that you can run ads and analyse the results almost immediately. And, based on those findings, it’s relatively easy to optimise and tweak under-performing parts of a campaign in real-time (unlike, say a TV commercial)

>Ready to get started? Check out our jargon buster, FAQs and tips on annoying ads to avoid.

Bottom line? Digital is thriving, and now is the time to get your piece of the cake.

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