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Mobile Programmatic Display Ad Spend to Eclipse Desktop as Automation Grows

Moving past the experimental stage

October 12, 2015 | Media Buying

Programmatic advertising, the use of technology to automate the buying, selling or fulfillment of ads, is becoming the standard for marketers looking to simplify the media buying process.

US Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending, by Device, 2014-2017 (billions, % change and % of total programmatic digital display ad spending)

The new eMarketer report, “Mobile Programmatic Advertising: Grabbing the Vast Majority of US Display Ad Dollars by 2017,” explores that while programmatic was originally used to effectively buy desktop banners, the process has naturally expanded to mobile. Moreover, eMarketer forecasts US mobile programmatic ad spending will reach $9.33 billion this year and account for 60.5% of total US programmatic display ad spending.

Mobile might be newer to the programmatic game, but marketers have high expectations for it. A February 2015 survey conducted by RBC Capital Markets and Advertising Age found that the biggest portion of US marketers cited mobile as the channel or format expected to have the most opportunity for programmatic buying. And with many of the other cited areas—such as social, video and native—increasingly intertwined with mobile, such an opportunity is only growing.

“A year ago, clients were only doing science experiments in mobile programmatic,” said Craig Palli, chief strategy officer at mobile marketing firm Fiksu. “They were checking ‘test mobile’ off of their to-do list. This year, we’re seeing the larger brands come in with millions of dollars, because they now realize that if they’re not reaching their consumers on mobile, they’re ripe for disruption for competitors.”

Facebook is playing a substantial role in mobile’s programmatic growth. With Facebook considered a largely programmatic platform and its US mobile revenues expected to total $5.89 billion this year and reach $10.32 billion by 2017, its direct contribution to total US mobile programmatic digital display ad spending will be significant. However, eMarketer also anticipates that Facebook will play a secondary role in fueling the growth of mobile programmatic ad spending as both mobile web and app publishers increasingly look to redesign their sites in the style of Facebook’s popular in-feed units.

US Mobile Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending, by Format, 2014-2017 (billions, % change and % of total mobile programmatic digital display ad spending)

Another key aspect to mobile programmatic’s advancement is video, which will exhibit swift growth over the next 24 months, albeit starting from a small base of just $1.14 billion, or 12.2% of total US mobile programmatic display ad spending. By 2017, that number will reach $3.79 billion, but its share will still remain small, at 18.5%.

Though these numbers may seem extremely conservative to the many who are bullish on mobile video growth, it’s important to note that eMarketer’s definition of digital video only includes in-stream video ads (pre-, mid- or post-roll) and does not include many of the fast-growing a types often lumped into the digital video ad category, such as native video or in-feed video.

eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Mobile Programmatic Advertising: Grabbing the Vast Majority of US Display Ad Dollars by 2017.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.

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