Mobile Media Milestones

According to the latest Global Mobile Media Forecast from Strategy Analytics, consumers are expected to increase the spend on mobile media by a further 13.4% from $121.8 billion in 2011 to $138.2 billion in 2012.

In contrast, advertiser spend on mobile media is expected to almost double from $6.3 billion to $11.6 billion, resulting in the total mobile media economy reaching $149.8 billion in revenue in 2012, a 17.0% increase on 2011.

Mobile Media Market Growth (2012 vs. 2011)


% Growth vs. 2011


Total Market







Major Western Europe








Source: Strategy Analytics, Global Media Forecast, April 2012

60.2% of consumer spend is on data plans and web browsing, $82.8 billion in 2012, up 9.5% on 2011. A key driver of growth is the apps market on smartphones. Over 23 billion apps were downloaded globally in 2011, increasing by 38% to over 32 billion in 2012. Apps, now the second largest category for revenues for both consumer and advertiser spend, are becoming the key distribution mechanism for media on mobile phones. 

Apps are expected to account for 18.9% of global consumer spend in 2012, $26.1 billion, up 30.7% on 2011, but the strength of the apps ecosystem is also demonstrated by advertiser spend. For example, across the USA and major Western European markets as a whole, revenue from display ads on the mobile web ($934.5 million) has been overtaken by in-app advertising at $1.7 billion.
Despite remaining relatively flat in terms of spend, Music remains one of the top mobile media categories globally, accounting for $16.0 billion or 11.6% of 2012 consumer spend. However, the way consumers' access and pay for music is changing. Ringtones are declining fast, but streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora and Deezer, paid for by subscription or through advertising, are gaining good traction in Western Europe and the USA.

As with apps, growth of mobile video usage is increasing dramatically. 108 billion videos were watched on mobile phones in 2011, almost trebling to 280 billion in 2012. However, unlike apps, this isn’t translating into symbiotic revenue levels. Despite a 23.8% revenue growth, Video is likely to account for a mere 2.4% ($3.6 billion) of total mobile media revenues in 2012. 

Global Mobil Media Revenues ($ in Millions)


Advertiser Spend

Consumer Spend

Data plans / web browsing



Applications and Games









Source: Strategy Analytics, Global Media Forecast, April 2012

David MacQueen, Strategy Analytics’ Director of Wireless Media Strategies, notes that “... while ad revenues will more than triple to $726 million in 2012, it is still clearly challenging for advertisers looking to reach consumers through video ads on smartphones..."

The US mobile media economy is expected to outperform the global growth figure, increasing by 22.1% to nearly $38 billion in 2012. Advertiser spend on mobile media is projected to more than double in 2012, increasing 128.9% to just under $4.2 billion.

US consumers are expected to spend $6.7 billion on mobile apps in 2012, a 24.6% increase over 2011, and accounting for 20% of all US consumers mobile spend.  In direct correlation, US advertising revenue on mobile apps is projected to reach $1.2 billion in 2012, a 118% increase over 2011. In-app advertising revenue is more than double the revenue from mobile Web display advertising in 2012, which is only projected to reach $556 million.

124.9 million Americans are expected to access social networks via their handset in 2012, yet the amount of revenue this will generate for social networks is only expected to reach $412.7 million or $3.48 per mobile user during the year.

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