October 13, 2021

Mobile Still Reigns Among Digital-Ad Buys

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
“Content is king” is a seemingly worn-out mantra but one that still holds true for those marketers trying to drive business to their company, via content marketing. But as far as digital-advertising dollars go, “mobile advertising is still king,” proclaims a recent report from the experts at eMarketer.

Those experts are forecasting that advertisers will spend nearly $129.8 billion on mobile advertising by the end of this year, which would be a 26.5% increase over what they spent during a pandemic-ridden 2020.

Five larger industries, in particular, are expected to target more than 70% of their 2021 digital-ad budgets to mobile, eMarketer says.

Entertainment leads the way with 76.5% of its digital-ad dollars going mobile by the end of the year — obviously reflective of theaters, concert halls and other events and venues reopening after the height of the pandemic.

The other four industries destined to devote 70%-plus of their digital budgets on mobile by the end of the year — and obviously with the upcoming holiday season in mind — are: telecom at 75.1%; computing products and consumer electronics, 75%; consumer packaged goods, 71.4%, and financial services, 70.4%.

Forecast for Non-Mobile’ Options Looks Rosier, Too

Mobile advertising is that which appears on mobile phones, tablets and internet-connected feature phones (dressed-down smartphones with limited capabilities, aka “dumb phones”), according to the eMarketer study.

Then there are non-mobile advertising options, which include connected TV (CTV) and other forms of advertising that appear primarily on desktop and laptop computers. In addition to connected TV, these other forms of non-mobile advertising in the digital-ad era include display ads that appear on home screens — plus in-stream video ads that appear on CTVs from such platforms as Roku, Hulu and YouTube, eMarketer says.

Non-mobile ad spending has increased in recent years, too, but “it tended to rise by low double-digit rates, far slower than the 20% to low 30% growth seen by mobile before the pandemic,” the eMarketer report says.

Thanks to the explosive growth of connected TV, in particular, “non-mobile” ad options are now expected to bite into mobile advertising’s huge share of digital-ad spend in upcoming years, or at least cause mobile to level off.

“The emerging popularity of connected TV (CTV) advertising is the primary reason nonmobile ad spending is no longer losing share,” eMarketer says. “Even so, every single industry in the US will spend the majority of its digital ad budget on mobile this year, as usual, with the lowest share being 57.1% and the highest being 76.5%.

“CTV’s time is coming, but clearly mobile still rules the digital roost.”

Roku Rules the Roost Among CTV Platforms

In a newer study about CTV platforms released just this week, eMarketer says that Roku’s monthly users will reach 111.7 million this year, for an increase of 11.5% from those streaming on the platform in 2020.

“With these figures,” that report says, “Roku maintains its position as the most-used connected TV (CTV) device in the US market, though Amazon Fire TV is catching up.”

Amazon Fire is projected to reach 97 million monthly active users by the end of this year and climb past 100 million users next year.

Third among CTV platform users, meanwhile, is Apple TV, whose “penetration is pretty low compared with the rest, at only 13.1% of US CTV users,” eMarketer says. Roku’s and Amazon Fire’s penetration rates, by comparison, are 51.7% and nearly 45%, respectively.

What’s in store in the years ahead? The eMarketer experts predict a continuing, closely contested, World-Series type of race between Roku and Amazon.

“Roku will hit 126.4 million monthly US users in 2025,” they say, “while Amazon Fire TV will follow closely at 118.6 million users that year.”

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