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For the past several years, marketers have proclaimed that it was “The Year of Mobile.” While it remains to be seen whether 2015 gets to don the official title—though it looks pretty promising—one thing’s for sure: All of the waiting around has given marketers plenty of time to figure out how they define and measure mobile.
Data released in February 2015 by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) gave insight into where marketers were when it came to mobile ad revenue measurement. Fully 93% of US digital marketers polled in 2014 said they treated smartphone ad revenues as mobile, vs. 83% in 2012. Less progress had been made on the tablet front: While an impressive 78% treated tablet ad revenues as mobile, this was up only 5 percentage points from 2012. Interestingly, laptop computers—rarely included in lists of shiny mobile devices—had become more mobile: In 2014, 16% of marketers considered ad revenues from such platforms mobile—more than triple 2012’s figure of 5%.
The treatment of app-based ads was loud and clear. Fully 97% of marketers treated revenues from app-based ads on a phone as mobile, and 91% said the same about tablet app ads; both of these figures were up at least 10 percentage points from 2012.
The situation isn’t quite as clear for browser ads, though. While the percentage of respondents who considered revenues from browser-based ads on mobile phones as a part of mobile revenues grew 10 percentage points, one-third of respondents still counted these as nonmobile. The story was even more mixed for tablets, which saw no change in treatment. Respondents were almost split, with 55% treating tablet browser ads as mobile, and 45% considering them as nonmobile.
eMarketer estimates that US mobile ad spending, which includes display, search, messaging-based and other ad formats such as classifieds, email and lead generation, will increase 50.0% in 2015 to reach $28.48 billion. Next year, mobile ad dollars will rise another 41.0%, pushing mobile’s share of digital ad spending to just under half of the total (48.6%). In 2018, US mobile ad spending will hit $58.78 billion, accounting for 70.9% of digital ad dollars and 26.6% of total ad investments.
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