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Tablet and smartphone surge gives mobile ads a $3.3bn shot in the arm

Mobile advertising buoyed by the growth of not-so-small mobile screens...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor on

Mobile advertising buoyed by the growth of not-so-small mobile screens...

Global mobile advertising revenue is predicted to more than double this year as ad makers look to capitalise on the growing number of smartphone and tablet owners.

Gartner says the adoption of such devices will help to fuel the growth of mobile advertising by making the audience easier to segment and target, with the analyst house predicting worldwide mobile advertising revenue will reach $3.3bn in 2011, versus $1.6bn generated last year, rising to $20.6bn by 2015.

Tablet, smartphone adoption boosting mobile advertising market

Consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets is driving the growth of mobile advertisingPhoto: James Martin/CNET

Not all types of mobile advertising will perform equally, however. The analyst reckons search and maps will generate the highest revenue, while video and audio ads will see the fastest growth through 2015.

Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, said brands, advertisers and publishers now recognise mobile advertising as an opportunity to improve returns by targeting consumers in an engaging and contextual manner. "Mobile search, which includes paid positioning on maps and various forms of augmented reality, all of which can be informed by location, will spearhead mobile ad spending," she said in a statement.

The mobile display market - including standard Marketing Association banner formats and non-standard rich media and interactive formats - will continue to be "closely divided" between in-app and mobile web placements, reflecting consumer usage of apps and mobile web browsers, Baghdassarian added.

Gartner predicts mobile ad budgets will swell considerably in the coming years, rising from 0.5 per cent of the total advertising budget in 2010 to more than four per cent in 2015. Brand marketers who want to include mobile in their ad mix should start trials as soon as possible and get budgets in place now in order to take advantage of mass consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets, said Andrew Frank, research vice president at Gartner.

"In 2011, we are finally seeing some important drivers fall into place, so that we can expect the market to more than double year-over-year in the coming two years," said Frank in a statement.

"This doesn't mean, by any stretch, that the experience delivered by mobile advertising will reach its optimum point in that time frame. We expect that targeting and contextualisation, especially in social sites and applications, will carry on improving throughout the forecast period and beyond," he added.

Mobile ad budgets will grow most in North America and Western Europe, according to Gartner, representing 28 per cent and 25 per cent of the global market respectively by 2015. However, Asia-Pacific and Japan will remain the biggest market, accounting for half - 49.2 per cent - of mobile advertising in 2011, and a third - 33.6 per cent - in 2015.

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