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Global mobile advertising topped $8.9B & jumped 83% in 2012, thanks to a global smartphone boom

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Wow, never thought those accidental clicks on ads on your smartphones are going to turn into a mega-billion dollars business! Jokes aside, the shift to mobile is reshaping the business landscapes and advertising isn’t any different.

According to data released by the US Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), IAB Europe and IHS, a research company, the worldwide mobile advertising revenues hit $8.9 billion in 2012, up about 82.9 percent over 2011 revenues of $4.3 billion. Gartner Research had predicted that global mobile advertising revenues would be around 9.76 billion in 2012 and would increase to about $11.4 billion in 2013. Looks like they were off a little.


The growth in advertising can be correlated to the fact that there are many more smartphone owners worldwide and those numbers continue to go up. Ericsson(s eric) CEO Hans Vestberg when speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona pointed out that half the phones shipped in 2013 will be smartphones.

North America which includes the U.S., accounted for $4.7 billion in mobile ads in 2012, about 111 percent jump in total dollars. In 2011, North America accounted for $2.5 billion in advertising.However, the overall North American ad-market share declined from 58 percent of the total in 2011 to roughly 39.8 percent in 2012.

From the IAB press release:

With growth rates of 88.8 percent in search, 87.3 percent in display and 40.2 percent in messaging at a global level, ad spend in these formats reflects bullish growth in the sector.

Mobile advertising revenue continues to be dominated by the search segment, which represented 52.8 percent of total global mobile advertising revenue, or $4.7 USD (€3.6 billion EURO) in 2012, $2.5 billion in 2011(€1.9 billion). Display advertising accounted for 38.7 percent and messaging 8.5 percent.

The share by region of the global figure of $8.9 billion (€6.9 billion) for 2012 is:

  • Asia-Pacific: 40.2% ($3,558 million/€2,769 million)
  • North America: 39.8% ($3,525 million/€2,743 million)
  • Western Europe: 16.9% ($1,499 million/€1,167 million)
  • Central Europe: 1.3% ($112 million/€87 million)
  • Middle East & Africa: 1.2% ($109 million/€85 million)
  • Latin America: 0.6% ($50 million/€39 million)

Western Europe also saw a major increase, 91 percent over the previous year. Other year-over-year upswings include:

  • Latin America: 71%
  • Central Europe: 69%
  • Middle-East and Africa: 68%
  • Asia-Pacific: 60%

3 Responses to “Global mobile advertising topped $8.9B & jumped 83% in 2012, thanks to a global smartphone boom”

  1. Yes mobile advertising is absolutely booming because of this and as the use of smartphones increase among the world’s population this field will only become more and more competitive. Why not jump ahead of your competitors and start a mobile marketing advertising plan today? I know if I owned a small business, I definitely would.

  2. These numbers from IAB are quite impressive, and it’s no surprise that mobile is gaining more traction year over year, especially as advertisers realize that mobile apps, in particular, provide a compelling canvas for engagement and brand building. However, as more marketers try to figure out how much of their advertising strategy and media dollars should be devoted to mobile app advertising, they are discovering that “traditional” metrics like CPM and CPC aren’t able to capture the real engagement value/ROI of mobile app advertising. After analyzing over 2.4 billion app marketing data points, we believe there is a concrete way to effectively measure the cost per mobile engagement (CPEm). In fact, Fiksu’s research has determined that the average CPEm is 1/10th the cost of a desktop click. You can read more about my thinking and analysis here….

  3. Dane Smolinski

    Android has played a huge role in this growth, which is a point I’m sure will be made in the coming days as this information is digested further. Looking at Asia-Pacific, that’s where a lot of devs are seeing good money (thanks to Airpush, Millennial Media, etc) due to the saturation of Android devices and innovative new ad formats that are engaging emerging markets in ways that iOS will never be able to because their overpriced and over-hyped devices will never be entry-level attractive.