Consumers love having high speed Internet access and rich media on their smart phones. So do marketers. With 31% of mobile users now owning a smartphone device, up from just 20% a year ago, the opportunity to reach consumers through the mobile channel continues to improve.
According to the latest projections by research firm Gartner reported by MobileMarketingWatch.com, mobile ads are on pace to double in 2011, generating close to $3.3 billion worldwide compared to $1.6 billion in 2010.
But, as the saying goes, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Gartner projects mobile ads will top $20 billion annually by the end of 2015. That very impressive growth forecast is supported by other research on mobile advertising growth and effectiveness, which explain why mobile ads make sense for marketers.
Research firm comScore reported the number of mobile advertisers more than doubled over the last two years to 689 advertisers, up 128% from two years prior. The study showed that the leading mobile advertising categories were:
- Mobile content and publishing – 50 percent
- Consumer discretionary goods – 26 percent
- Information technology – 7 percent
- Financial services – 6 percent
Analysts at comScore credit the growth to advances in smartphones and mobile networks, which are also boosting the effectiveness of mobile ads. According to new research from comScore on mobile advertising trends in April 2011, smartphone users are 4 times more likely to access their mobile browser (82.3%) or applications (85.0%) as feature phone users. With that higher level of usage, smartphone users are 5 times more likely to see a mobile ad than feature phone users, 27.5% vs. 5.0%.
More good news for marketers is that mobile ads are twice as effective with smartphone users. Their analysis showed that 7.7% of smartphone users are likely to respond to SMS ads, compared to just 3.5% percent for feature phone users.
“The acceleration of mobile media consumption, driven by adoption of smartphones, 3G/4G networks and unlimited data plans provides a ripe environment for advertisers looking to reach consumers through a variety of platforms including mobile browsers, apps and SMS. As consumer usage and technology continue to advance, look for advertising to play an increasingly important role in the development of the mobile ecosystem,” Hans Fredericks, comScore vice president, said in a prepared statement.
So while the mobile advertising industry is still in its infancy, research shows it is growing fast and set to boom. That’s good news for advertisers, content providers and MNOs. And the success of SMS advertising shows once again the profundity of Marshall McLuhan’s often quoted observation, “the medium is the message.” Although in the case of SMS advertising, the “message” is the medium as well.