Opportunity knocking in mobile ads sector

There has been more consolidation in the mobile advertising sector, as UK-based mobile ad agency Fetch Media this week moved to acquire local rival Lucidity Mobile for an undisclosed sum.

At two years old, Fetch Media is a privately funded business, which in the wake of its new acquisition will open an office in the US later this year.

The company is looking for opportunity in a fast growing market. Data released by market research agency eMarketer this week predicts that mobile advertising spend will top $1bn in the US for the first time this year as smartphone adoption and rising data usage make the market more attractive to advertisers.

Advertisers will spend nearly $1.23bn on mobile ads in 2011, up from $743m last year and by 2015, the US mobile advertising market is set to reach almost $4.4bn, eMarketer said. The big ticket items will be display ads such as banners, rich media and video, search and messaging-based advertising, and tablet targeted advertising.

This year, messaging-based formats still take the largest piece of the pie, accounting for $442.6m in spending. But in 2012, banners and rich media will be even with search, each getting 33 per cent of spending, or $594.8m. That will put them ahead of messaging, which will fall to just 28.2 per cent of all mobile ad spending next year. By 2015, banners and rich media and search will dominate further, and messaging will have shrunk to 14.4 per cent of the total, but will still be growing in terms of dollars, according to eMarketer analyst Noah Elkin.

Video is the fastest-growing mobile ad format, but from the smallest base at $57.6m this year. It will grow at a compound annual rate of 69 per cent between 2010 and 2015 to reach $395.6m.

Global mobile advertising network InMobi recently said that it experienced a 25 per cent growth in global ad impressions over the three months to the end of August, serving 126.7 billion mobile advertising impressions in that period. Smartphone growth continues apace, representing more than two fifths (42 per cent) of mobile ad impressions since May.

The continuing rise in Android’s popularity, up 1.7 share points to 17.9 market share, now means that it takes Symbian’s place as the second highest performing mobile platform after S40, which is down 1.9 per cent since May to 18.2 per cent.

James Lamberti, VP of global research & marketing at InMobi said: “Android is demonstrably moving toward becoming the top mobile platform, having taken Symbian’s place in the league table. Indeed, at this rate of growth, it may well take the number one slot before year-end. However, four of the top five handsets are Apple devices.”

In related news, Google has launched a useful tool, allowing anyone to create custom charts based on the full set of data from its Global Mobile Research: The Smartphone User & The Mobile Marketer investigation it conducted earlier this year with Ipsos and the Mobile Marketing Association.

Our Mobile Planet is targeted at marketers, app developers, and techies, to answer their strategic questions through an extensive, far reaching standardised survey on smartphone user behaviour.

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