Mobile is now the second-largest ad medium by spend: WARC

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Mobile is now the second-largest ad medium by spend, having overtaken desktop internet for the first time this year, according to a new monthly report from advertising research firm WARC.

The firm’s latest monthly Global Ad Trends report found that – with an anticipated year-on-year growth rate of 35.2% – mobile ad spend across all formats is expected to amount to $98.3 billion in 2017, representing 23% of global spend. TV is expected to remain the world’s largest ad medium by spend this year and next, at around $139 billion.

WARC estimates that 51% of total mobile advertising expenditure for 2017 will be allocated to search. Display formats are expected to account for 45% and classified and other spend 4%. The largest mobile markets are the US, China and the UK.

The report also highlights the role social media plays in those mobile figures, saying that social networking accounts for over a third of daily online time via all devices (2hrs 15mins), while one in seven people (1.1 billion) access Facebook via a mobile device each day.

Mobile is expected to account for 88% ($34 billion) of Facebook’s ad revenue for 2017, up 5 percentage points from 2016.

With mobile display ad spend expected to reach $45.2 billion this year within WARC’s 12 key markets (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and US, which between them account for approximately two-thirds of the value of global ad trade), there is a strong correlation between Facebook’s global mobile ad growth and the growth of mobile display in the markets.

However, while mobile growth will far outpace all other media, as Facebook’s mobile ad revenue growth eases (a forecast rise of 40% in 2017 versus 70% in 2016), global mobile display growth will also cool.

Facebook/Google duopoly

A comparison of company revenues with data in WARC’s ‘Adspend Database’, which contains ad spend data for 96 markets, shows that the duopoly of Facebook and Google will account for 61% of all online advertising expenditure this year, up from 58% in 2016 and 47% in 2012.

Further, the anticipated $133 billion in combined revenue will equate to a quarter of all ad spend worldwide in 2017, up from a fifth in 2016 and just 9.4% in 2012.

“Daily mobile time has more than doubled over the last five years – from 1hr 17mins in 2012 to 3hrs 2mins in 2017 – and our research demonstrates how marketers are looking to capitalize on this by investing more in social, video and native mobile formats over the coming years,” said WARC data editor James McDonald. “Much of this influx has been to the benefit of the duopoly – Facebook and Google – where one in four dollars of global advertising is now spent.”

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