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Top 10 Takeaways from the Rise of Mobile Spending

December 4, 2018 Sarah Cavill

Mobile ad spending has long been poised to become the revenue-generating giant of advertising, with each successive year dubbed “the year of mobile.” With mobile ad spending accounting for 69.9% of all digital advertising in 2018, and poised to become even more dominant in the years ahead, the giant has arrived.

10 Actionable Mobile Spending Stats

The following ten takeaways and tips for mobile ad spending should help marketers maximize ad spend for the best mobile-generated conversions, scale and revenue growth over time.

  • Mobile is leaving TV ad spending in the dust, surpassing it by more than $6 billion. News and sports have started moving online, leading these once traditional, TV-centered mediums to be consumed on mobile devices, and the ad dollars are following.

US ad spending on select media 2020 mobile ads tv radio

  • By 2020, eMarketer estimates mobile will account for 43% of total media ad spending, eclipsing all other mediums combined. This take-over is happening in full force already, with an estimated $76.17 billion spent on mobile in 2018, compared to television’s $69.87 billion. Print and radio trail far behind both channels. This is a 21,775% growth for mobile from a decade ago, when US mobile spending was a meager $320 million.
  • Video advertising has supplanted in-app purchases as the major revenue generator for apps. There is some difference between gaming and non-gaming apps, when it comes to in-app purchases, and streaming is also a major source of revenue for apps, but it is another indicator that mobile ad spending is a reliable source of monetization across various mediums.
  • Ecommerce sales reached $18 billion dollars combined for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with Cyber Monday posting its biggest haul ever at $8 billion. The popularity of mobile spending for holiday shoppers has led retailers to extend their sales and promotions beyond the Thanksgiving weekend, starting earlier and ending later.
  • Most users access the internet via mobile and desktop, however 71% of time spent online is on mobile devices. Online businesses must have fully equipped user interfaces on desktop and mobile to maximize purchasing and facilitate clickable, easy-to-use advertisements.
  • The experience of mobile shopping used to be exasperating, but has been streamlined and updated via simpler, more user-friendly sites. Personalized data now shows buyers exclusive deals and promos without a lot of page flipping and additional searches. These technological and marketing changes are making the process easier for consumers who are less likely to quit mid-order and for retailers who are now less burdened with over-loaded servers and shipping promises they can’t meet. This is a win for mobile advertising, as it clears away what may have been previous barriers to success.
  • The rise of Apple Pay, Android Pay and PayPal as “frictionless” payment options also facilitate quick, one-click shopping, scaling customers for future purchases and creating a market for advertisers.
  • Social media is not always useful for actual ecommerce sales, but Instagram, Facebook and others are efficient at driving buyers to new products they might not have otherwise considered, creating an additional mobile experience that reflects future sales. This could explain the 352% growth of social ad revenue since 2014.

share of search spending mobile ads smartphone tablet desktop

  • Paid search advertising on mobile devices comprised the largest share of overall search spending in Q2 2018. This has been an inevitability for some time, as spending caught up to impressions and clicks.
  • The next big thing in mobile spending may be in-app header bidding, also known as parallel bidding. Though common on desktop, this method of real-time bidding (RTB) is still catching on in mobile. The process involves auctioning off ad space in real time, and can lead to higher-quality placements.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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