Commentary

Mobile Now Primary Ad Device

According to samplings from the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, and the Q3 2015 Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report, one thing was clear says the report: Mobile device usage went up once again, across the board. And, from an eMarketer forecast: by the end of the year, mobile ads will account for just under 52% of all digital ad spend, overtaking desktop spend share and making it the primary device for advertisers.

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Particularly impressive was the trend towards mobile on display advertising. While smartphones have been making gains across all three channels, display ads have exploded on mobile devices in 2015. eMarketer recently reported that display advertising is the fastest growing segment of mobile advertising.

US Mobile Ad Spending, 2014–2019

 

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Mobile Ad Spending ($Billions)

$19.15

$30.45

$42.01

$50.84

$57.95

$65.49

   % Change

79.5%

59.0%

38.0%

21.0%

14.0%

13.0%

   % Of Digital Ad Spending

38.5%

52.4%

62.6%

67.4%

68.6%

69.9%

   % Of Total Media Ad Spending

10.9%

16.6%

21.6%

24.9%

26.9%

 28.9%

Source: eMarketer, Sep 2015 (Note: includes classified, display (banners and other rich media and video), email, lead generation, messaging-based and search advertising, and ad spending on tablets.)

Across search advertisers, there is continued smartphone growth. While there was smartphone and tablet growth last year, this year shows only smartphone share growth at the expense of both desktop and tablet, with desktop showing the largest losses in share across all devices, says the report.

Consumers are very close to hitting the 50% mark for click share on mobile devices, with a rough 54-46 desktop-mobile split. Spend in Q3 was also very close to this mark, with 42% of all spend being on a mobile device. 

Search by device: mobile approaching 50%

 

 

 

 

 

Impressions

Clicks

Spend

Conversions

Desktop

57.35%

54.18%

58.09%

59.32%

Smartphone

30.16%

34.17%

29.91%

28.90%

Tablet

12.49%

11.65%

12.00%

11.77%

Source: MarinSoftware, Q3 2015

 

 

 

 

 As of Q3, display mobile ads are more important for advertisers than display desktop ads, says the report. Year over year saw double-digit shifts in all metrics towards smartphone devices, signaling the increased importance of mobile display for advertisers. Click share for mobile devices hit almost 65%, with smartphones accounting for over 55% of all display ad clicks in Q3.

Display conversions shifted heavily towards smartphone conversion in the past year, with the overwhelming majority of Q3 display conversions happening on a mobile device. The disparity between mobile spend and mobile clicks and conversions for display ads suggests that there’s room to grow by shifting budgets towards mobile devices. 

Display Ad Spend Is Now Primarily On Mobile Devices

 

Impressions

Clicks

Spend

Conversions

Desktop

54.82%

35.68%

48.99%

23.62%

Smartphone

36.42%

55.31%

36.01%

69.49%

Tablet

8.76%

9.01%

15.00%

 6.89%

Source: MarinSoftware, Q3 2015

 

Display Click Share Surges On Smartphones 

 

Impressions

Clicks

Spend

Conversions 

Desktop

–20.44%

–30.23%

-10.53%

–48.08%

Smartphone

22.22%

33.08%

12.47%

53.53%

Tablet

–1.78%

–2.85%

–1.94%

–5.45%

 Source: MarinSoftware, Q3 2015

Of all three platforms, the majority of consumers and advertisers focused their attention and spend on smartphone and tablet devices, which constituted over half of all impressions, clicks, and spend. Conversions also shifted towards mobile, with smartphones and tablets taking up 4.2% more total share this year than last year.

Social: Smartphones And Tablets Still On Top

 

Impressions

Clicks

Spend

Conversions

Desktop

45.40%

34.30%

38.20%

60.61%

Mobile

54.60%

65.70%

61.80%3

39.39%

 Source: MarinSoftware, Q3 2015

To more fully understand ad engagement, says the report, the analysis considered click-through rates (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), and conversion rates during Q3 to find any significant change over the past year when it came to consumer behavior and ad interaction. 

Smartphones and tablets still boast higher click-through rates than desktops, showing that mobile devices remain the leaders in capturing consumer engagement. And, search is also still the leader in click-through rates, in line with historical trends and consumer intent when these ads are served. When consumers see a display or social ad, their intent is not usually focused on products or services, so they’re unlikely to interact with an ad, says the report. On the other hand, with search, paid ads are very aligned with consumer intent when browsing a SERP. 

Q3 2015 Click-Through Rates

 

Search

Social

Display

Desktop

1.44%

0.54%

0.27%

Mobile

2.14%

0.86%

0.63%

Tablet

1.67%

 

0.43%

 Source: MarinSoftware, Q3 2015

When conversion rates are examined. Desktop, historically, has had the highest conversion rates, as smartphone and tablet conversion has never been as easy. However, the gaps between smartphone, desktop, and tablet conversion is narrowing across all channels, and on display, smartphone and tablet display actually surpass desktop for the first time.

Mobile display conversion rate has been steadily increasing over the year, and surpassed desktop by midyear 2015. This marks the first time smartphone conversions overtook desktop and tablet, and shows that display really has gone all-in on smartphone.

Conversion Rate: Smartphone Steadily Increases

 

Desktop

Smartphone

Tablet

Search

10.96%

7.98%

9.70%

Social

1.12%

0.38%

 

Display

3.30%

6.26%

3.81%

Source: MarinSoftware, Q3 2015

The report concludes by noting that across all channels, mobile devices are at the forefront of consumer and advertiser attention, with ad spend in both display and social already being primarily mobile-allocated. While consumer behavior shows steady shifts towards smartphones, it varies drastically by platform, and understanding the intersection between channel and device is crucial for the smart marketer to reach their audience and encourage conversion. Digital marketing is quickly approaching the moment when mobile definitively overtakes desktop as the device of choice for advertisers

For additional information and access to the free whitepaper, please visit Marin Software here.

 

 

2 comments about "Mobile Now Primary Ad Device".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 26, 2015 at 10:17 a.m.

    On your first chart where it shows the increase the percentage of ad spend of mobile, does that mean that there will be more ads, ads will cost more or combination ? How do you think more ads will effect ad blocking ?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 26, 2015 at 5:52 p.m.

    I suspect that the answer to your questions, Paula, is that both are correct---higher CPM prices plus more ads. On the plus side, unless something is done about ads going to bots and outright fraud, many of these "messages" wont be seen by humans. Still, more ads probably means more peopls using ad blockers, as your laast question suggests.

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