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Mobile ad spend took off big time in 2013, says eMarketer

People holding media jobs in mobile advertising agencies have finally seen the fruits of their labor pay off. According to a new report from eMarketer featured in AdAge and several other news outlets, mobile advertising spend is on course to double by the close of 2013 to hit $9.6 billion (it was $4.4 billion in 2012, so to be accurate the 2013 spend is actually more than double).

On the rise at last 

And it doesn’t stop there: the report forecasts that mobile advertising spending will leap again by a further $5 billion next year. After limping at an underwhelming rate for so long, despite endless promises of a stubbornly elusive breakthrough, mobile advertising finally appears to be taking off.

By comparison, the report reveals that desktop ad spend grew by a feeble 1.7 percent in 2013. Overall, the digital ad spend will have grown by 15.7 percent by end of year – and mobile is clearly at the head of the pack.

Anyone with experience of media jobs in that corner of Adland known as mobile can tell you why: the uptake of mobile devices has not only been soaring, but people are spending more time on them, too. Trends borne out, in fact, by an eMarketer report this August, which found that the amount of time U.S. adults are spending on mobile devices has now outstripped the time spent on desktops and laptops (19.4 percent vs 19.2 percent).

Infrastructure improvements + m-commerce = growth explosion 

But significant advances in infrastructure also played a big part in mobile advertising’s rising fortunes. eMarketer’s VP, Clark Fredricksen, said:

“Many advertisers weren’t ready in 2011 or 2012 to make big mobile-ad buys. The infrastructure wasn’t necessarily there — poor mobile web and app experiences were rampant, particularly among retailers. But that’s changed as more brands and retailers invested heavily in smartphone and tablet experiences this past year.”

There’s also been a spectacular growth in m-commerce and, Fredricksen says, big ad sellers like Facebook and Google finally managed to develop “mobile-ad experiences that advertisers are comfortable with.”

For the time being, he predicts, the companies likely to benefit the most are those which sell advertising across devices, with traditional media facing a tougher time unless they can adapt to mobile more quickly.

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