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Mobile Drives Programmatic Ad Spend in China

Mobile programmatic impressions, spending, see dramatic growth in 2015

May 4, 2016

A growing share of programmatic ad spending in China is moving to mobile devices, driven in part by the popularity of ad markets offered by players including Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent. According to research by programmatic buying platform iPinYou, mobile’s share of programmatic digital display impressions increased dramatically over the course of 2015, in comparison to desktop, moving from just 12.2% in Q1 2015 to 39.2% by Q4 2015.

Programmatic Digital Display Ad Impression Share in China, by Device, Q1 2014-Q4 2015 (% of total)

The increase in mobile’s share of programmatic ad impressions dovetails with the format’s remarkable growth rates in 2015.

According to iPinYou’s research, the format grew by 350% in Q2 of 2015 alone, continuing to grow by rates of 40% or more in both Q3 and Q4 of 2015.

While the exact cause of this dramatic growth is uncertain, China’s top three advertising platforms, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, all of whom are heavily focused on mobile advertising, control a dominant share of the ad market in China. According to eMarketer’s own estimates, the three companies account for 95% of mobile programmatic spending in China.

This uptick in mobile programmatic also aligns with eMarketer’s own forecasts for mobile programmatic display spending in China. According to eMarketer, spending on the format will reach $7.06 billion in 2016, an increase of 97.3% over the year prior.

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