WARC: Mobile ad spend to overtake TV in 2019

Mobile ad spend will surpass TV across 12 markets in 2019, thanks to the boom in programmatic trade.

WARC's Marketer's Toolkit shows that 71% of the 800 senior marketing and advertising practitioners surveyed expect a rise in mobile budgets this year, with most money going to Google-owned and Facebook-owned platforms.

It also unveils that nearly two-thirds (62.6%) of all digital display ad spend was automatically traded by machines in 2018, which was worth about USD$71.5 billion, according to Zenith data. This was up from a 35.3% share in 2014, and has trebled since 2013. Paid search and social media on Google and Facebook platforms are programmatic by design.

Facebook has 1.5 billion daily users and nearly all of them access the platform via their mobile devices. Last year, ad revenues for the company exceeded USD$50 billion. At the same time, Google's ad income topped USD$100 billion for the first time last year, with much of its recent growth due to mobile search - Google handles 94.1% of all mobile search queries worldwide.

In 2018, daily consumption of mobile internet has reached three hours and 14 minutes a day, more than double compared to the 2012 measurement. Over 90% of this time was spent in-app, and social networking was the most common activity.

Currently Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US account for three-quarters of global ad pend and 91.1% of all mobile adspend (USD$125.6 billion).

As 5G is expected to be rolled out in early 2019, 1.5 billion people will have 5G subscriptions by 2024, meaning advertisers will be capable of reaching the audience with high-quality pre-, mid- and post-roll video advertising across a near-instant connection.

In China, mobile is also set to account for over two-thirds of online video spend at USD$5.2 billion. Meanwhile in the US, mobile video ad investment is expected to reach USD$12.6 billion this year, up 37.1% from an estimated USD$9.2 billion in 2018 and equivalent to over two-thirds (67%) of all online video spend in the country.

Higher connection speeds and data transfer will enhance monthly data consumption as three quarters of global internet users will go mobile-only by 2025. Three quarters of global internet users will be mobile-only by 2025. China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan are expected to account for half of all growth in mobile users over the period.

Meanwhile, 47% of the respondents said viewability and accurate measurement of online ad performance were their biggest concern. One in five also stated they were unable to measure mobile ROI accurately; most (59%) were uncertain. A similar proportion said the same of social media.

"Google- and Facebook-owned apps dominate mobile consumers' lives, and this duopoly attracted over USD$150 billion last year by pairing advertisers with users based on their data," said James McDonald, data editor, WARC.

"There remains significant uncertainty around mobile effectiveness and ROI -- yet there is also little sign advertisers will rethink their spending plans for mobile-first platforms in the coming years. These trends are set to make mobile, in all its forms, the number one ad medium in major markets this year," he added.