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Mobile now accounts for the majority of US ad spend

Sending money from via mobile phone. Vector illustration.

We’ve been waiting for this moment for a while, but it has finally arrived. Mobile advertising now accounts for more than half of the total digital advertising spend across the US in 2016.

According to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, mobile advertising accounted for 51% of the $72.5 billion spent by advertisers on digital formats last year. Over the course of 2016, mobile advertising saw a substantial uplift of 77%, confirming a trend which many have seen coming for a while. It wasn’t a case of if, just when.

“Mobile fuelled the internet economy in 2016, with advertisers showing their confidence in digital to achieve their marketing goals,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of Interactive Advertising Bureau. “This increasing commitment is a reflection of brands’ ongoing marketing shift from ‘mobile-first’ to ‘mobile-only’ in order to keep pace with today’s on-the-go consumers.”

Like New Years’ Eve, there is a sense of inevitability surrounding this landmark. Yes, it is a shift which is certainly worth noting, but like midnight on December 31st, we all knew it was coming. Companies like Facebook or Twitter or Google, have been continuously building a mobile-friendly business model, and the app economy is continuing to justify its existence. Tie that into the fact people could live without their laptop, but leave your smartphone at home and the world ends, mobile was always going to take over the industry.

Facebook is probably the best example of the mobile revolution. During its last earnings call, Facebook claimed to have 1.74 billion mobile monthly users, of which 1.149 billion are mobile-only users, which gives it more flexibility to dominate the day-to-day lives of consumers. Companies like Facebook who are becoming more defined by mobile will only continue this trend upwards over the next couple of years.

In terms of the specifics, mobile advertising spend hit $36.6 billion in 2016. Digital video hit a total of $9.1 billion in 2016, a 53% year-on-year rise from $5.9 billion in 2015, with mobile video spend increasing by a massive 145% to a total of $4.2 billion. Social media advertising generated $16.3 billion last year, a 50% boost, while search revenues reached nearly $35 billion in 2016.

Digital Revenues


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