People on the lookout for media jobs might do well to turn to the mobile advertising industry over the next couple of years. A new study commissioned by the Mobile Marketing Association predicts that mobile marketing will generate approximately 1 million new jobs and $400 billion in incremental output to the U.S. economy by 2015.
Media jobs vs. regulation
The trade organization’s study has a dual purpose, to persuade marketers to increase their spend on mobile advertising and to illustrate mobile marketing’s potential to create jobs. But to be frank, the MMA also wants to stave off the potentially stultifying effects on media jobs of over-zealous regulation.
As its CEO, Greg Stuart, put it, “Asking a bunch of people who are unfamiliar with mobile marketing to set up digital policy might inhibit innovation. Let’s not stifle job growth.”
Media jobs in mobile marketing will climb from 2012’s total of 524,000 to 1.4 million by 2015, the study projects. Mobile advertising agencies are set to have their work cut out for them too, as more firms turn to mobile marketing. The study forecasts that mobile marketing spending will skyrocket from $6.7 billion in 2012 to just short of $20 billion in 2015.
However, one minor negative also emerged. Yes, mobile media jobs will increase and yes, sales generated from mobile devices will soar (from $139 billion in 2012 to in excess of $400 billion by 2015). But by 2014, the return on mobile advertising spending is set to drop fractionally from $20.77 per spend to $20.15.
A diversifying market
The reason? Diversification of the mobile market, in a nutshell. To date, mobile devices (especially smartphones) have been largely embraced by young, high-income consumers. But they’re increasingly being taken up by lower-income users, too, a development which is likely to prompt a small drop in returns.
That said, the study found that industries which spent the most on mobile also reaped the highest returns on the channel. One of the study’s lead researchers, Columbia University Professor of Marketing, Jo Plummer, said, “Historically, spending in all other mediums eventually flattens out and declines. We don’t see that curve in the data that we have. We looked at the sales of high-end and low-end spenders in mobile, and while the correlation is not 1.0, it was in a positive direction.”