Tablets probably are driving mobile ad growth — for now


I’ve spent a lot of time today thinking about this post from TabTimes‘ Patrick Pierra, who argues that “it’s tablets — not mobile — driving the growth” of mobile advertising. Without citing any substantial data, Pierra claims that while tablets and mobile phones are typically lumped under the same “mobile” umbrella (which is why data separating the two can be hard to find), tablets are driving ad growth because of their quick adoption, longer sessions and much higher click-through rates for ads.

Perra makes some good points (despite his lack of hard evidence), and I’ve argued before that there are some very real differences between mobile advertising and tablet advertising. While mobile phones still outnumber tablets by a big number worldwide, I wouldn’t be shocked if overall tablet revenues are actually pacing those on mobile phones.

But because tablets usually aren’t often used as mobile devices — which is to say, they’re rarely connected to cellular networks but instead are moved from Wi-Fi hotspot to Wi-Fi hotspot — smartphones actually have an edge when it comes to next-generation mobile advertising. Most of us carry phones just about everywhere we go, enabling advertisers to deliver highly targeted (and highly lucrative) ads at the optimal time and place, to just the right group of users. That’s where the big money lies as mobile advertising evolves over the next few years, and that should once again make phones the primary device when it comes to driving mobile ad revenues.

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