Now -- while it took time for the technology to develop, for the right systems to take shape, and for consumers to buy the right gadgets -- the age of mobile has very clearly come.
That fact is further supported by a fresh forecast from eMarketer, which -- for the first time ever -- expects mobile to overtake desktop ad spending this year.
Stateside, mobile will account for 51.9% of total digital spending in 2015, the ever-reliable research firm predicts. While desktop's share of ad dollars is expected to decline slowly through 2019, mobile's share will grow like gangbusters.
Indeed, mobile advertising is expected to grow by 59% in 2015 -- an even higher rate than eMarketer forecast in March.
“Brands and marketers continue to see increased value in mobile advertising to reach consumers," eMarketer analyst Martín Utreras explains in the new report. “Some of the shift is happening organically from digital ad spending dollars, but also we see additional dollars moving from traditional media and new money coming from local advertising and small businesses,” according to Utreras.
Also, “Consumers’ increasing on-demand consumption of media through mobile -- coupled with improvements in targeting, attribution and ROI for mobile advertising -- will continue to take away ad dollars from magazines and newspapers." As such, eMarketer expects mobile to surpass print advertising's share of the total ad market sooner than originally forecast.
Specifically, print's share has been revised downward, to 15.8% of the total ad market, while eMarketer's estimates for mobile have been adjusted upward, to 16.6%.
Make no mistake, the shift to mobile is being driven by consumer demand -- and not just from the young. Even U.S. adults are spending two hours and 51 minutes a day on non-voice activities on mobile devices, eMarketer estimates. More than half of that -- or one hour and 31 minutes -- is believed to be spent on mobile phones.
This year, display advertising should continue to account for the largest share of the mobile ad market, capturing 51.1%, or $15.55 billion. Within display, banners, rich media, and sponsorships will account for $12.77 billion, and video $2.78 billion. Search ads account for the second-largest share, 44.7%, or $13.62 billion.
Estimates for text messaging, classifieds, email and lead generation figures have been revised upward in 2015. SMS messaging will account for 0.9% of mobile ad spending, while other spending -- mostly on classifieds and emails --will account for 3.4%.
As a note of caution, however, eMarketer has also revised its long-term mobile growth through 2019 slightly downward.
This column was previously published in Moblog on September 1, 2015.