Experian Panorama

In-depth articles, interviews and debates covering local and global topics related to the Experian business expertise.

Mobile advertising landscape in Europe

Mobile still remains as the last frontier of digital advertising, touted as the next big thing for some years now. But while it accounts for only 279€ million out of the 14.7€ billion of digital advertising in Europe in 2009, as reported by the IAB, it’s growing at an astonishing rate of 254.48%, up to 710€ million of investment in 2010. The growing rate of smartphones and the appearance of an entirely new category of product like the tablet, of which the iPad is still the most shining example, are changing the ways in which we access digital content, build our online identity, and yes, even the ways we consume. It’s no surprise, then, than advertising is surging in this environment, but there are still many differences between markets in Europe. The latest IAB report on mobile advertising sheds some light at the state of mobile in the different European countries, as well as providing some insights into the behaviors of consumers.

Mobile Internet penetration in Europe

It’s no surprise that the nations with the most mature digital advertising markets are also spearheading the development of digital advertising in mobile devices. The UK, Spain, Germany, Italy and France are all above the 20% of mobile internet penetration, with the UK leading the group with almost 34% of the population with access to internet through a mobile device. Other countries in this lead group are Sweden, Turkey and Finland. The case of Turkey is special, as it’s the only country in Europe where internet access through mobile penetration is higher than home internet access, 21 to 20%. With the exception of Germany, the key demographic in almost all the top countries are youth between 25-34 years old, followed closely by the 35-44 segment. Even in troubled Spain, with youth unemployment figures reaching 40%, the 25-34 segment accounts for 27% of the population with mobile internet access, and those under 34 years old account for 50% of the mobile internet users.


Mobile Internet access % of population







































Consumer insights on mobile behavior

According to a poll with consumers, browsing is the most frequent activity on internet capable mobile devices, although email comes close as a second option, surpassing browsing in certain countries. This makes much more pressing the need for an email marketing program for customers that takes into account the behavior changes that mobile internet access is influencing. According to research conducted by Experian Marketing Services, “there is still a distinct difference for consumers between receiving an email and an SMS message, even if it is on the same device”. The research found out that consumers find commercial SMS messages more intrusive and less welcomed than email. But, on the other hand, service oriented and transactional communication from brands through SMS was rated positively by the polled consumers in the Experian Marketing Services research. More than 50% expressed they were “happy to receive” SMS emails with confirmation of delivery dates (56%), purchases, or appointments (50%).

Another important insight into consumers’ behaviors is the rate of people who have purchased goods online through a mobile phone. In some countries like France or Spain, the rate is around 30% of mobile users. In Poland, the rate goes up to 50%, higher than in the UK, where 40% of mobile internet users have used their mobile device to buy, redeem or reserve an item. These countries lead the way in the development of mobile commerce, which still has great room for growth, as the majority of countries report mobile commerce rates below 10%.

Mobile advertising as a revenue channel for operators

The key to monetize audiences with mobile advertising is the smart use of data. Apple and Google have been monetizing mobile audiences for a while now, either through app stores, music stores or advertising platforms, applying their huge sets of data of their audiences and customers to enhance reach and addressability.

Mobile Network Operators have the reach to deliver huge audiences to advertisers, but they need to leverage their data, or other external data assets, like the ones provided by Experian Mosaic to be able to offer as well meaningful segmentation to increase the ROI of campaigns.

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