Smartphone growth may have reached its saturation point in already developed markets, but mobile advertising revenue is just beginning to hit some impressive speeds. Global mobile advertising spend earned $8.9 billion in 2012, an 83 percent spike over the previous year’s $5.3 billion, according to a new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
“Mobile is coming into its own as a powerhouse advertising medium,” says Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, U.S. IAB. “Today’s advertising is happening in a world where ad campaigns can be planned and bought across global networks on multiple media, but the massive and continuing acceleration of mobile’s international impact provides new and exciting frontiers for content and communication.”
More specifically, the numbers indicate mobile search grew 88.8 percent, mobile display ads grew 87.3 percent, and mobile message ads jumped 40.2 percent.
When it came to geography, Asia Pacific and North America were nearly neck and neck in mobile ad spend, with Asia Pacific earning $3.558 billion and North America at $3.525 billion. In terms of international revenue breakdown, IAB reported:
• Asia-Pacific: 40.2% ($3.558 billion)
• North America: 39.8% ($3.525 billion)
• Western Europe: 16.9% ($1.499 billion)
• Central Europe: 1.3% ($112 million)
• Middle East & Africa: 1.2% ($109 million)
• Latin America: 0.6% ($50 million)
“This study is extremely relevant to advertisers as it assists companies to make investment decisions and accurately access market opportunities as we experience a monumental shift across communication platforms,” explained Kimon Zorbas, CEO of IAB Europe. “In Europe we are still experiencing significant economic turmoil and unemployment. Despite this reality, our sector is a positive beacon for recovery and growth. The message to European policy makers is they should take into careful consideration the promising opportunities our sector offers and focus on removing barriers to growth.”
Each region showed considerable growth. North America grew the fastest at an 111 percent increase in 2012 over 2011, while Latin America grew 71 percent, Central Europe 69 percent, Middle-East and Africa 68 percent, and Asia-Pacific 60 percent.
“From a creative and communication standpoint, mobile advertising is hyper-personal. But more so than other media, from a business perspective, it is global,” said Daniel Knapp, Director Advertising Research at IHS, and author of the research. “Mobile advertising is being planned, bought and sold across national borders and regions. This makes a global market sizing initiative ever more urgent.”
Mobile ad spending rides a growth wave fueled by wide smartphone use, increased 3G and 4G penetration, and more intelligently targeted ad technology.
“We have seen a shift from a very fragmented landscape to one that is becoming more networked,“ Knapp explained. “Technological innovation has simplified buying mobile inventory at scale, enabling advertisers to better reach larger audiences across multiple publishers and advertising networks.”