North America accounted for the largest share of mobile advertising at 41.9%, just ahead of Asia-Pacific (38.9%), with Europe at 17.3%, the Middle East and Africa (1.2), and Latin America (0.7%).
Coming off its small base, Latin America saw the highest growth in 2013, at 215% (to $144 million), although North America was still up 122% to $8.1 billion despite being a mature market. Mobile spending in Europe increased 90% to $3.3 billion, Asia-Pacific, 69% to $7.5 billion, and the Middle East and Africa, 45% to $225 million.
In terms of ad type, mobile display had the most growth -- surging 123% to $3.6 billion -- while search was up 92% to $4.9 billion. Both categories were driven by wider adoption of smartphones and more affordable data plans driving mobile content use and local search. Ad revenue from messaging climbed 19.4% to $1.5 billion, with growth in SMS and MMS likely slowed by the shift to alternative platforms like WeChat, Line and WhatsApp.
The $9.5 billion in search overall accounted for almost half (48.9%) of mobile ad revenue, with display representing 41.5% ($8 billion), and messaging, 9.6% ($1.9 billion).
Anna Bager, vice president/GM of the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, suggested that the figures indicate mobile is becoming a key part of the marketing media mix. “In particular, as mobile ad campaigns become easier to plan, create, buy and measure — in great part due to programmatic strategies — these operational efficiencies are spurring the growth of the mobile display ad market,” she stated.
Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe, however, added that many publishers still have to sharpen their mobile ad strategies and capabilities since growth to date has mainly come through in-app and native advertising rather than through brand campaigns.
The study findings are based on reported data by local IABs and a “statistical and econometric model.” The data was harmonized to adjust for discounts and agency commissions. The IAB said the modeled data is based on variables such as smartphone penetration, 3G subscriptions and messaging volume.