The latest forecast for US media ad spending from eMarketer predicts that mobile advertising will surpass all other digital ads by 2016.
An historic overtake
Mobile advertising agencies will have their work cut out for them, it seems: over the next two years, mobile ad spending is projected to more than double from this year’s $17.7 billion to $37.5 billion. Anyone with a smattering of knowledge about the mobile advertising market will instantly appreciate that this will amount to an historic event: for the first time, mobile ad spend will outstrip that for print and desktop.
So, what’s happened to turn the runt of the advertising litter into the titan? The explanation, says eMarketer’s executive editor Noah Elkin is a major shift in consumer habits. He said:
“It really has to do with consumers’ time, attention and engagement. Consumers are spending more of their digital media time with their smartphones and tablets than their desktops and laptops.”
Last year, US adults were spending just two minutes more on their tablets and smartphones than on larger laptop or desktop screens. But this year, that difference has skyrocketed 20-fold to reach forty minutes more.
As Elkin somewhat modestly puts it, advertisers are now more willing to focus more of their dollars on the mobile channel for one overriding reason: “To the extent that time is money, that is a contributing factor.”
Doubt and confidence
But it may not all be plain sailing. Some cautious observers of the mobile phones advertising market remain a little skeptical. Shelby Saville, for example, who heads digital advertising at the Publicis-owned media agency Spark, remains to be fully convinced. She said:
“The opportunities for paid advertising in mobile are not that strong yet. In many ways we are repeating the sins of the past in desktop,” pointing to the tendency to sell banner ads “on an even smaller screen”.
Spark’s clients are more attracted to channeling their dollars into ad spots running with video games, and Yahoo recently declared to would shift resources away from mobile banners to native ads that blend more subtly with other content.
But some real juggernauts in the mobile advertising space suggest that eMarketer is onto something: as we reported recently, Twitter just acquired NY mobile ad startup TapCommerce and Facebook is certainly muscling in, too.