People working in media jobs for mobile advertising agencies could be forgiven for feeling a little confused by two new advertising expenditure forecasts. ZenithOptimedia has taken a bullishly optimistic view of the coming three years, predicting that mobile advertising will expand to 36 percent of the global ad spend by 2016. That’s more than a third of the $90 billion in new revenue anticipated over the coming three years.
But WPP’s media buying wing, Group M, has taken a rather more pessimistic view in its projections for 2014, having revised its earlier global ad growth forecast of 5.1 percent to 4.6 percent, attributing its gloom to “economic gridlock in the US and a persistent financial crisis in the Eurozone.”
“And”, not “instead of”
ZenithOptimedia’s figures also suggest a remarkable development in the rise of mobile phone advertising – that 36 percent growth in ad spend will not be at the expense of other media like TV and newspapers. It’s additional growth, not “instead of”. As anyone with experience of media jobs in Adland can testify, this is pretty unprecedented. When internet display and search advertising began to take off with the advent of PCs and laptops over the last ten years, traditional media (especially print) took quite a hammering.
But according to ZenithOptimedia’s Head of Forecasting, Jonathan Barnard, that won’t happen with mobile:
“This is the first time in the past 20 years that a new platform is expanding overall media consumption without cannibalising any of the other media platforms,” he said.
A mobile explosion?
By 2016, the forecast claims, mobile will have leapfrogged over outdoor ($40bn), cinema ($34bn) and radio ($37bn) to become the fourth biggest global ad medium at $45bn. Zenith predicts that the global ad market will be worth upwards of $500bn by the close of this year and will grow by 5.3 percent in 2014 and by 6 percent for the following two years to 2016, taking the total value to $590bn.
“The principle engine of this growth will be mobile technology,” says Barnard.
TV advertising is on course to be the second biggest contributor to the additional $90bn in ad spend, accounting for 34 percent. It’s also set to retain its status as the biggest medium by far in the world, with a share of 39 percent (worth $230bn) by 2016.