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Worldwide, More Money Goes Mobile

Mobile search and display advertising up 220% in US alone

Mobile ad spending around the world more than doubled last year, eMarketer estimates, and though growth will moderate this year, double-digit increases in mobile ad spending will continue in coming years as outlays approach $37 billion by 2016.

In 2012, mobile spending was at $8.41 billion, according to eMarketer’s forecast—up from just over $4 billion the year before and $2.34 billion in 2010. eMarketer’s estimates of worldwide mobile ad spending include dollars going toward display and search advertising only, and exclude spending on messaging-based formats. Spending on tablets is also included.

The fastest growth in 2012 came from North America, especially the US, where mobile search and display ad spending was up 220%. Spending doubled in the Middle East and Africa, from a very small base, while growth in the rest of the world’s regions was below average. In Asia-Pacific, spending was up a comparatively small 40%.

In emerging markets, however, growth was booming. Mobile ad spending in China was up 138%, and Indonesia and India each enjoyed 110% growth rates.

eMarketer forms its estimates of worldwide mobile ad spending based on the analysis of various elements related to the ad spending market, including macro-level economic conditions, historical trends of the advertising market, estimates from other research firms, and consumer mobile usage trends.

In terms of absolute dollars, North America already has an edge on other world regions, and will widen that gap considerably by 2016. That year, eMarketer projects, advertisers will spend over $21.39 billion on mobile in the US and Canada, compared to over $6.19 billion in second-place Asia-Pacific.

North America is also the world leader in mobile ad dollars spent per mobile internet user, at $30 in 2012 and a forecast $46 in 2013. By comparison, Western Europe will spend just $19 on mobile advertising per mobile internet user this year, while in Asia-Pacific the number will reach only $4. Other world regions will struggle to spend even $1 on mobile ads per mobile web user.

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Check out today’s other articles, “More People Pay for TV, but Cable's Share Slips Slightly” and “Marketing in India: Digital Development Marked by Speed of Change.”

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