Mobile Still Lags Desktop in US B2B Digital Ad Spend

January 15, 2019

B2B ad spend in the US is slated to top $6 billion in 2019, but marketers are still putting more of their spend towards ads on desktop and laptop devices than on mobiles. However, data from eMarketer suggests that mobile is not lagging quite as far behind as it did in previous years.

While computers are still the primary focus for US digital B2B advertising, mobile is making bigger gains. In 2018 US digital B2B ad spend on desktop was $3.32 billion, a figure that’s expected to rise to $3.81 billion in 2019.

Mobile, on the other hand, will jump from $1.8 billion in 2018 to $2.27 billion in 2019. This represents a forecast 26.2% gain, compared to the 14.7% for desktop.

Mobile’s place in the B2B world isn’t reflective of broader digital ad spending trends. Mobile digital ad spend is now well above desktop, as shown by the IAB’s comprehensive data that includes both B2C and B2B. In the first half of 2018, almost two-thirds of digital ad spend was allocated to mobile, while the remaining portion went towards desktop advertising.

eMarketer puts forward a few possible reasons why B2B marketers are not using mobile ads more often. One is location. Unlike B2C buyers who are likely to be shopping for goods throughout the day and on different devices, B2B buyers are likely to be spending the bulk of their time researching purchases during standard working hours, where they are more likely to be working on a desktop or laptop. Their work computers are also likely to have cookies connecting them to their work email addresses, making ad targeting easier.

B2B buyers also typically consume a wide variety of content, which may be more easily consumed on a standard computer than a mobile device. They also spend an increasing amount of time on research when it comes to their purchasing decisions.

Late last year eMarketer’s forecast called for digital ad spending by B2B firms to grow by 13% this year, after growing by an estimated 15.6% in 2018.

About the Data: Spend data from eMarketer includes advertising that appears on desktop and laptop computers, as well as mobile phones, tablets and other internet-connected devices. Figures include all types of ad formats on those platforms, including ads such as Facebook’s News Feed Ads and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets.

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