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Mobile to Account for More than Half of Digital Ad Spending in 2015

Will surpass desktop for the first time this year

September 1, 2015 | Media Buying

This will be a benchmark year for ad spending in the US, as mobile surpasses desktop spending for the first time, eMarketer predicts. Mobile will account for 51.9% of total digital spending in 2015. That's a higher figure than eMarketer forecast earlier this year.

US Mobile Ad Spending, 2014-2019

While desktop's share of advertising dollars is expected to slowly decline through 2019, mobile's share will grow robustly. eMarketer expects mobile advertising to grow by 59% in 2015, a higher rate than forecast in March, when eMarketer last released figures for US ad spending. Meanwhile, long-term growth through 2019 has been revised downward slightly.

"Brands and marketers continue to see increased value in mobile advertising to reach consumers," said eMarketer analyst Martín Utreras. "Some of the shift is happening organically from digital ad spending dollars, but also we see additional dollars moving from traditional media and new money coming from local advertising and small businesses."

The shift to mobile ad spending is being driven mainly by consumer demand. eMarketer estimates that US adults are spending 2 hours and 51 minutes a day on nonvoice activities on mobile devices. More than half of that, or 1 hour and 31 minutes, is spent on mobile phones.

US Mobile Ad Spending, by Format, 2014-2019 (billions)

When examining the formats within mobile, eMarketer has revised all of its 2015 figures upward. Display advertising will continue to account for the largest share of the mobile ad market, capturing 51.1%, or $15.55 billion. Within display, banners, rich media, and sponsorships will account for $12.77 billion, and video $2.78 billion, with both figures revised higher than originally forecast. Search ads account for the second-largest share, 44.7% or $13.62 billion.

Estimates for text messaging, classifieds, email and lead generation figures have been revised upward in 2015, but lowered slightly through 2019. SMS messaging will account for 0.9% of mobile ad spending, while other spending—mostly on classifieds and emails—will account for 3.4%.

US Total Media Ad Spending Share, by Media, 2014-2019 (% of total)

Also noteworthy is that in 2015, eMarketer expects mobile to surpass print advertising's share of the total ad market, sooner than originally forecast. Print's share has been revised downward, to 15.8% of the total ad market. Meanwhile, eMarketer's estimates for mobile have been adjusted upward, to 16.6%.

"Consumers' increasing on-demand consumption of media through mobile—coupled with improvements in targeting, attribution and ROI for mobile advertising—will continue to take away ad dollars from magazines and newspapers," said Utreras.

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