Feature Article

August 03, 2012

United States Set to Become Mobile Ad Champion in 2012

It wasn’t long ago that the likes of South Korea and Japan had better wireless networks, better feature phones, and better smartphones. Along with all that “better” stuff also came better interest from both Japanese and South Korean mobile users – better enthusiasm, better desire to constantly acquire the latest mobile gadgets, and of course simply a greater desire to “go mobile” in every aspect of their lives.

To Apple’s credit, its original launch of the iPhone, while not an actual inflection point for the U.S. taking over as the key mobile market, served to finally jump start the United States as the ultimate mobile society. It has been five years since that first iPhone hit the market, but we can now say that the inflection point has caught up with the rest of the mobile world. What better way to mark that inflection point and to judge an overall level of global and regional mobile impact, than by extending out that most traditional of measures – ad spending (Mad Men and all that)?

Well, the numbers are beginning to filter in for 2012, and it is rapidly becoming clear that the United States is going to overtake Japan this year as the world leader in mobile Internet ad spend, as the following chart from eMarketer.com shows. 

As the chart makes clear, mobile internet advertising spend in the United States will jump to $2.29 billion in 2012, up from $1.16 billion last year, a remarkable 96.6-percent increase. Even as the U.S. forges into the lead more or less to stay, as the projected numbers for 2013 – 2016 in the chart show, it is also worth noting, per eMarketer, that overall global mobile Internet ad spend still represents but a tiny bit of the overall ad market (which includes online, print and TV) – less than 1 percent overall in 2011.

Even with the significant leaps in this year’s mobile ad spend, mobile will remain but a tiny piece of the ad market for the foreseeable future. At some point in time it will surpass overall global print ad spending (an event that has in fact already happened in Russia) – that will certainly be one of several “next mobile inflection points” to look for.

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Tony Rizzo has spent over 25 years in high tech publishing and joins MobilityTechzone after a stint as Editor in Chief of Mobile Enterprise Magazine, which followed a two year stretch on the mobile vendor side of the world. Tony also spent five years as the Director of Mobile Research for 451 Research. Before his jump into mobility Tony spent a year as a publishing consultant for CMP Media, and served as the Editor in Chief of Internet World, NetGuide and Network Computing. He was the founding Technical Editor of Microsoft Systems Journal.

Edited by Braden Becker

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