Mobile Ad Spending Is Set To Surpass TV In 2018

Time spent on mobile devices eclipsed desktop back in 2014. But fueled by increases in video ads, influencer marketing, and more, mobile is ready for its next big moment.

Mobile will account for approximately 70 percent of all digital advertising in 2018, according to new research from eMarketer — and with a nearly 34 percent share of all U.S. ad spend, mobile will pass TV as the leading ad medium this year.

As time spent on mobile surpassed desktop back in 2014, the shift of digital ad dollars to mobile is long established — but mobile’s eclipse of traditional TV is significant in terms of how marketers plan their budgets. It also underscores that consumers today perform the widest array of functions on their smartphones: Not only do they talk, text, check social media, and search the web, but they also watch videos and even TV content on platforms like the mobile apps for Netflix and HBOGo.

“Advertisers are pouring dollars into mobile due to growing mobile commerce activity. Conversions from mobile display ad placements have already surpassed those of desktop,” said Corey McNair, forecasting analyst and author of eMarketer’s report, “US Ad Spending: Facebook and Google to Capture Over One-Quarter of the Market.”

But in addition to simply capturing consumers’ eyeballs on the mobile web (and thinking more about m-commerce), several related trends are fueling increases in mobile spending as a whole.

The first is the rise of influencer marketing. With many Gen-Z and Millennial consumers viewed as more open to native marketing messages that come from “influencers” they already follow or have a relationship with on social media, “some modern marketers [seeing it] as a form of ‘growth hacking,’ where the leverage these market leaders give you allows your brand awareness to grow exponentially faster and gain more trust than you would by more traditional advertising or paid media,” David “Rev” Ciancio, director for Industry Insights at Yext (full disclosure: Yext owns GeoMarketing. More details on that relationship here), told GeoMarketing last month.

The second is the rise of video. With Gen-Z consumers watching an average of 68 videos per day — primarily on mobile platforms, from YouTube to Snapchat — it behooves marketers to explore investment in mobile video ads at a higher rate.

“This audience has the ability to sort through content faster than ever before,” explained Harley Block, SVP of brand partnerships at Awesomeness. “Creating mobile-optimized content that’s platform specific, direct, and entertaining is essential for brands to reach Gen Z.”

And now, with mobile set to eclipse TV as the leading ad medium, it isn’t just crucial for reaching younger consumers — it matters for capturing audience attention across the board.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.