Global Mobile Ad Spending Shows Big Gains; Majority Goes to Display

September 30, 2016

iab-global-mobile-ad-spend-trends-by-format-in-2015-sept2016Global mobile ad spending grew by 68.1% to $49 billion last year, a faster rate of growth than seen in 2014 (65%), according to a new report [pdf] from the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB Europe and IHS Technology. Display ad spending saw the fastest rate of growth (+93%), rising to capture more than 52% of all mobile ad spending.

Mobile display ad spending grew across all global regions, but remained largest in North America, where it almost doubled. Asia-Pacific was close behind, with spending almost doubling there, too. In fact, display accounts for an outsized share of mobile ad spending in both Asia-Pacific (56%) and North America (53%).

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Search continued to be the top format in Europe, accounting for 51% of mobile ad spending there compared to 45% for display. Global mobile search ad spending increased by 52% last year, but search’s share of overall global mobile ad spend decreased from 47.4% in 2014 to 42.8% in 2015.

Messaging “faces further pressure,” according to the report, with its portion of global mobile ad spending falling from 6.9% in 2014 to 4.9% last year, as messaging ad spending rose at a slower rate (20%) than overall mobile ad spend (68%).

Still, messaging plays a large role in Latin America, where it is the top format with 38% of mobile ad revenues, edging display (36%). Messaging is also important in Middle East and Africa, where its 33% share of mobile ad spend is second only to display (38%).

There was little overall change in mobile ad spend share by region, which broke down as follows:

  • North America: 45.1%, relatively flat from 45.6% in 2014;
  • Asia-Pacific: 34.3%, also fairly flat from 34.1%;
  • Europe: 19%, down slightly from 20.2%;
  • Middle East and Africa: 0.9%, down from 1.1%; and
  • Latin America: 0.7%, unchanged year-over-year.

Mobile ad spending grew across regions, with North America up by more than 66%, Asia-Pacific by about 69%, Europe by 58%, Middle East & Africa by 37%, and Latin America by 60%.

About the Data: The report describes its methodology as follows:

“Market size is gross, defined as after discounts, before agency commissions. Global market sizing and format split is based on reported data by local IABs, and a statistical and econometric model. Reported data has been harmonised to adjust for discounts and agency commissions. Modelled data is based on variables such as smartphone penetration, 3G subscriptions, messaging volume. The model has been refined based on benchmarking variables such as ad spend per capita, mobile subscriptions and 3G/4G penetration as well as through interviews with key players across the mobile advertising ecosystem. Model also takes into account typology of mobile ad markets in terms of maturity and format proliferation.

All data expressed in constant 2013 USD. Conversions into EUR based on 2013 USD-EUR foreign exchange rates.

Constant currency is used to eliminate exchange rate effects on growth rates.”

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