Upward Mobility: Hand-Held Web Accounts For Half Of U.S. Ad Expansion

Mobile advertising -- ads on wireless handheld devices including smartphones and tablets -- will account for half of the expansion in the U.S. advertising economy this year and next, according to the fall edition of ZenithOptimedia Group’s quarterly forecast. The update, which was released early this morning, now projects U.S. ad spending will grow 3.4% in 2013 -- a tenth of a percentage point less than the 3.5% ZenithOptimedia forecast when it released its last outlook in June.

The U.S. ad economy is now on track to expand 4.5% in 2014 and 4.6% in 2015, according to the new forecast, making it one of the fastest-growing industrialized markets in the global ad economy and the biggest single contributor to the worldwide advertising marketplace.

The worldwide ad economy is now projected to grow to 3.5% this year, 5.1%  in 2014, and 5.9% in 2015 -- the same rates projected by ZenithOptimedia in June, except for 2015, which has increased by one-tenth of a point.



The Internet -- especially mobile advertising -- will be the biggest contributor to the worldwide economy too, but it will be an even bigger driver in the U.S. because of mobile’s still nascent domestic base.

“Mobile advertising is still relatively small,” the Publicis media shop notes in its report, adding: “we expect it to total $6.2 billion this year, or 3.7% of total ad expenditure – but it is growing extremely rapidly.”

In fact, ZenithOptimedia forecasts that mobile ad spending will grow 81% in the U.S. in 2013, followed by an expansion of 61% in 2014 and 53% in 2015.

“By 2015 we expect mobile to account for 8.4% of total ad expenditure, narrowing the gap between mobile’s share of ad expenditure and its share of consumers’ time spent across all media,” the agency noted, citing several key factors for mobile’s acceleration, especially consumer adoption of mobile devices and better and more standardized mobile advertising formats.

“After years of hype, mobile advertising has finally arrived,” states ZenithOptimedia North America CEO Tim Jones, adding: ”Its importance will only grow over the next few years as advertisers and agencies get to grips with the opportunities it offers, and improve its ability to measure and deliver return on investment.”

Non-mobile Internet ad spending, meanwhile, continues to expand faster than the rest of the U.S. ad economy too, and is now projected to grow 10% this year and next, followed by an 8% expansion in 2015.

“We forecast total Internet advertising – both desktop and mobile – to account for 21.8% of all U.S. ad expenditure in 2013, up from 19.0% in 2012,” the report reads, adding that by 2015, total Internet ad spending will rise to nearly 28% of all U.S. advertising in 2015.

TV, meanwhile, has fallen below 40% of U.S. ad share, accounting for 38.8% of budgets in 2012, despite the incremental boost of the Olympics and elections that year.

“In [Olympics/elections] absence we forecast relatively disappointing 2.9% growth in 2013,” ZenithOptimedia said of TV’s growth in 2013.

“Television will benefit from the Winter Olympics, soccer World Cup and mid-term elections in 2014, when we forecast 3.8% growth in ad expenditure, followed by 2.5% growth in 2015,” it noted, predicting moderate rates of growth for other traditional media.

Source: ZenithOptimedia, September 2013

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