Mobile Ad Spend Forecast To Hit $18B Worldwide

Mobile advertising worldwide will grow 38% from an estimated $13.1 billion in 2013 to $18 billion this year, reaching $41.9 billion by 2017. Display will account for the bulk of mobile ad dollars, but video will have the fastest growth.

According to a new Gartner forecast, growth in mobile ad spending will slow in the next few years as inventory supply outpaces demand, with the number of mobile sites and apps growing faster than brand requests for ad space.

"However, from 2015 to 2017, growth will be fueled by improved market conditions, such as provider consolidation, measurement standardization and new targeting technologies, along with a sustained interest in the mobile medium from advertisers," stated Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner.

While display will remain the dominant ad format through 2017, spending within that category will shift to the mobile Web after years of higher growth for in-app display. Mobile video advertising will grow faster toward the end of the forecast period as tablets proliferate, providing a better screen size for the format.

Gartner also predicts search and map-related advertising will benefit from increasing use of location data gathered from mobile subscribers. “As a result, local advertisers will be more interested in the mobile channel as a means of pushing ads,” noted the report.

At the international level, most of the growth in mobile advertising will come from North America, due to the sheer scale of ad budgets and the shift to mobile. "Overall advertising budgets are the highest, so when a portion shifts to mobile, in a multiplatform approach, it immediately impacts the market's scale,” stated Mike McGuire, research vice president at Gartner.

The mobile market in Western Europe will be similar to North America’s, though slightly lower, while Asia/Pacific and Japan will see the slowing growth through 2017, averaging 30% a year. That’s, in large part, because the region has the most mature mobile ad market, though the high-growth economies of China and India will drive ad increases.

Growth rates for mobile advertising in emerging markets like Russia, Brazil and Mexico will surpass the worldwide average, per the report.

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