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Major Players Consolidate Share in US Mobile Ad Market

Google to grab majority of US mobile ad spending this year

Just as Google will claim more than half of mobile internet ad spending around the world this year, the search giant will also account for more than half of total US mobile ad spending, eMarketer predicts.

Google will increase its share of mobile ad revenues by just over 2 percentage points, to reach 52.1% this year, and will continue rising, taking a 55.7% share by 2015. Facebook, which quickly carved out a 9% share of US mobile ad revenues last year—the first year it offered mobile ads—will grow its slice of the market to 14.9% this year.

That gives it about three times the share of the US mobile market as the next-closest publishers eMarketer analyzed—YP and Pandora. Twitter will pull in just 3.5% of US mobile ad revenues this year and will increase that amount slightly in coming years.

Overall, US mobile ad spending is still on a strong growth trajectory, though 2012 was the last year of triple-digit growth rates, eMarketer estimates. Spending will reach $7.65 billion this year, up from $4.36 billion in 2012. The bulk of US mobile ad spending will go toward search and display, especially banners and rich media ads. Through 2015, search alone will hold on to just over half of all US mobile ad dollars, with display reaching near-parity. Messaging-based formats have quickly declined in importance; they accounted for 16% of US mobile ad dollars in 2011, but this year will only make up 2.8% of the total.

Similar to desktop search, the mobile search ad market is fairly consolidated. Google alone took in 82.8% of all mobile search ad revenues last year, and will continue to increase that share marginally throughout eMarketer’s forecast period. YP will pull in 9.6% of mobile search dollars this year.

The picture is different for mobile display. Facebook is the leading player there, and will rake in just over one in three mobile display dollars this year, after traffic acquisition costs (TAC). Google will increase its share of the total to 19.6%, while Pandora will grab 11.1%, down slightly from 2012. Twitter is a more significant force in the smaller world of mobile display, though it will still only take in 7.9% of revenues this year.

Consolidation in the mobile display market has largely come as a result of Facebook and Twitter introducing mobile ads to their offerings. The two companies, neither of which ran any mobile advertising in 2011, together accounted for 28.4% of the mobile display market by the end of 2012. Continued growth, especially at Facebook, is helping push the share of the market from “other” companies down to less than one in five mobile display dollars.

eMarketer bases its estimates of US mobile ad spending on the analysis of estimates from other research firms; reported and estimated revenues from major mobile ad publishers; consumer mobile usage trends; and eMarketer interviews with executives at ad agencies, brands, mobile ad publishers and other industry leaders.


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