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Mobile Makes A Grab For TV’s Crown

Latest eMarketer Data Shows Mobile's Unstoppable Rise

According to the latest data from research powerhouse, eMarketer, consumers’ use of smartphones now makes up the majority of their media consumption.

In advanced economies, worldwide, mobile is now either the dominant medium, in terms of time spent, or is on course to become so within the not distant future.

Yoram Wurmser, eMarketer principal analyst.

“We’ve expected that mobile would overtake TV for a while, but seeing it happen is still surprising. As recently as 2014, the average US adult watched nearly 2 hours more TV than they spent on their phones."

As per above, time spent with mobile overtook TV in the US last year, much as it did in the UK. While in France TV looks likely to hang on a little longer, although time-spent is deteriorating year on year, while mobile’s annual growth rate compounds.

eMarketer principal analyst Karin von Abrams:

“It’s the same pattern we see in other advanced economies, including the US and the UK. Of course, many older people, in particular, remain wedded to traditional linear television and broadcast radio, as well as print newspapers and magazines.

But in younger cohorts, the default is increasingly to access those kinds of content on digital platforms: for example, watching time-shifted TV shows on a PC, reading news on publishers’ sites or social media and catching up with sports scores via smartphone apps.”

Mobile Apps Versus Browser

Mobile users consistently spend the bulk of their time using apps over web browsers, with the average person spending 2:57 in apps vs. 0:26 on a mobile browser.

No doubt good news for social apps, which dominate app usage, although bad news for Google given how little time users spend searching in the browser.

As such, Google has to invest heavily to ensure its search engine is front and centre in other browsers and apps.

For example, Google pays Apple billions annually for the privilege of prominence in Safari. Something which it never had to worry about in ye olde desktop-first world where Google was the gateway to the web.

This alone is one of many reasons why Wall Street analysts are slightly concerned by Google’s longer-term outlook, despite an annual turnover of $100+ billion.

Mobile To Dominate Marketing Spend By 2020

Given how dollars follow eyeballs, it should come as no surprise that mobile will take the lion’s share of marketing spend next year, according to Zenith.

Zenith forecasts that mobile advertising will account for 30.5% of global advertising expenditure in 2020, up from 19.2% in 2017.

Expenditure on mobile advertising will total US$187bn in 2020, more than twice the US$88bn spent on desktop advertising and just US$5bn behind the US$192bn spent on television advertising.

With mobile marketing spend ‘comfortably’ overtaking TV worldwide by 2021.

Is Mobile’s Marketing Dominance A Good Thing?

Whilst mobile dominates attention increasingly, does it perform as well as a marketing channel compared to TV, or even desktop?

According to Zenith, this is not the case, as television ads are most effective at driving recall among potential customers, while mobile ads are least effective.

Likewise, while mobile usage has exploded, the jury is still out on how well mobile even converts vs desktop.

Again, another reason why Google is under pressure from investors since marketers are reticent to pay premium prices for mobile search ads, relative to desktop. As such, Google’s average CPMs have been falling for some time.

Naturally, this will change and evolve in time.

Google’s mobile ad units are improving quarterly; while both Google and Facebook are working to close the online/offline loop:

  1. Facebook
    1. Store Traffic campaigns
    2. Offline conversions
  2. Google
    1. Offline Data Imports into Google Analytics
    2. Store Visits Conversions

However, this is something for marketers to consider in the short-medium term.

Although budgets may be shifting towards smartphones, performance may take a while longer yet to catch up.


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