Sizing the Market for Mobile Advertising

By Ricky Gutierrez  | 

The consumer shift to mobile devices continues to drive both publishers and advertisers to adopt strategies that put mobile front and center. 71% of all Internet consumption this year is expected to happen on mobile devices. And while mobile ad spend does not yet mirror consumer time spent with mobile, change is underway and is likely to continue. Here we take a broad look at just how big mobile advertising has become in 2017 and where it is expected to go in the year ahead. Ad spending data and forecasts published by Zenith, eMarketer, the IAB and Magna provide a high level view of the growing mobile opportunity for brands.  

Mobile is now bigger than all other types of digital ad spend
A recently published report from Zenith found that more than 53% of all digital ad spend in the US this year will be directed to mobile campaigns. Zenith is not alone in this assessment. The IAB expects that mobile will make up more than 51% of all digital ad spending in 2017. Industry forecasts indicate that mobile ad budgets show no signs of slowing down. Zenith predicts that mobile will claim 62% of all digital ad spend by 2019. After so many years of pondering whether this would be the year of mobile, it’s now clear that the industry is there. As MediaPost advised in a recent article, “advertisers need to treat the internet not as mobile-first, but mobile-dominated.”

Programmatic buying is a key factor in the growth of mobile
Many forces are helping brands connect with consumers who fully expect unlimited access to content on their phones. Programmatic buying is one. eMarketer found that nearly 80% of mobile display ads are purchased programmatically and that number is expected to increase to 85% by 2019. In looking at programmatic display spend overall, mobile is expected to account for 75% of the $32.6 billion market this year.  

Google and Facebook dominate the market for mobile ad inventory
Planning to run a mobile campaign in the near future? It’s likely that either Google or Facebook will play a role in it. Together these companies make up 57% of mobile ad spend in the US, with Google expected to garner 32.4% of mobile spend this year and Facebook accounting for 24.6%. Magna Global reports that investment in social video ads, which are easily consumed inside consumers’ newsfeeds on mobile devices, also grew by 140% in 2016, bringing the social video ad market to a total of $2.1 billion.

As evidenced by its share of total digital ad spend, Mobile advertising has evolved from a niche ad format into one of the ad industry’s most dominant areas of investment. Even if Facebook and Google control the lion’s share of today’s mobile ad inventory, we can expect to see an increase in mobile advertising opportunities as publishers across the board adapt to meet consumer expectations for mobile content. Whether you’re a mobile newbie or ninja, be sure you choose tech partners who have the skill to guide you in utilizing your creative assets, especially video, across all screens and devices.

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