The marketing world has been expecting this for some time, and it is finally here. I am talking about the point where desktop ad spending is actually beginning to shrink. While it remains healthy at $1.4 billion, the slack is taken up by mobile ad spending, which is expected to grow by 83 percent in 2014. EMarketer released new figures showing that desktop ad spend only grew by two percent in 2013, while mobile ads grew by 122 percent in the same period.
I and many of my marketing compatriots have long recognized that this was coming. For many years now, we have seen the rapidly growing smart phone and tablet market blossom and steal market share from desktops. While it is unlikely that mobile marketing will overtake desktops for ad spend in the near future, Google and other major players recognize that mobile is going to be a bigger piece of the pie.
EMarketer predicts that mobile ad spend will continue to grow in the coming years, complemented by modest declines in desktop ad spend. According to their predictions, mobile ad spend will increase 46 percent in 2015, 35 percent in 2016, 27 percent in 2017 and 23 percent in 2018. Desktop ad spend is estimated to decline 2.1 percent in 2015, 5 percent in 2016, 7 percent in 2017 and 10.6 percent in 2018.
EMarketer attributes much of this migration to mobile platforms due to major players like Google emphasizing mobile markets. Google has made significant efforts to revamp its search engine through the Hummingbird update, which incorporates semantic search. This long tail search system is designed with mobile users in mind, and especially mobile users who employ voice activated search.
This shift to mobile marketing has also been facilitate by a drop in pricing. According to a report by the Search Agency, Cost Per Click (CPC) pricing for mobile ads was significantly lower than that for desktop ads. Within the retail product sector, this difference varied from 14 percent up to 42 percent in the last five quarters.
In the business services industry, there is more mixed results. While the cost for mobile ads was close to a quarter of that in the second quarter of 2013, by the last quarter, it was actually 58.4 percent more expensive than desktop ads. This may suggest that, at least in the business services field, there is a recognition that mobile ads are more effective at capturing market share. It is likely that services which are more likely to be local in intent is likely to be more amenable to mobile marketing campaigns.
This significant cost difference has effectively shunted much of the marketing ad spend to mobile sites. Although the total mobile marketing expenditure was only 5.7 percent of all media buys, this figure is expected to grow significantly in years to come.
For many business owners who are looking for a cost effective marketing strategy, mobile ads is unsurpassed.