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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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