Posted April 2, 2009 4:50 pm by with 11 comments

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Mobile Internet connectivity improvements through upgraded networks, smart phones, better data plans and more content are the main reasons why mobile advertising is starting to shift from “What’s all the hype about?” to “Finally, it’s catching up to the hype” mode. eMarketer reports that 2008 was where hype and reality crossed paths and now the future of the mobile advertising industry is poised to explode.

Regular readers of Marketing Pilgrim may be familiar with my disdain for predictions of how an industry will grow 5 years from now. These prognostications are educated guesses at best and wild eyed speculation at worst. Though they can be fun to gawk over they often times look ridiculous when seen through the rear view mirror of reality. The following chart shows just eMarketer sees the growth of US mobile advertising spend for the foreseeable future.


The numbers offered in this study contend that the big jump in adoption of mobile advertising will occur between 2010 and 2012. Of course, this is anyone’s guess as to real numbers but the growth should be significant even if it falls short of these predictions.

In this case, I have to lean toward thinking that this part of the Internet industry really does have potential v. just good PR. I know how my mobile usage has gone up exponentially since I got my first Blackberry in 2007. Add the iPhone into the mix at about that same time and the platform has been created for real opportunity with mobile everything. The report points out that the convergence of smart phones, network upgrades and richer content are a perfect storm of sorts to give this industry real momentum.

Other questions broached are:

  • How will mobile advertising fare in a down economy?
  • Can marketers count on smart phones to expand mobile’s reach?
  • How will changes in mobile usage patterns affect marketers?
  • What will be the affect of mobile video?
  • Which ad-funded business models will take off?

So what’s your take on mobile advertising? Hype or reality?

  • I think it will push advertisers to do something beyond the norm and perhaps provide a far more engaging experience to traditional advertising. This may also help push advertising forward away from mobile.

    Local advertising around mobile search is also likely to be an important part of the growth, as it has become more relevant and useful (not in all cases!) in our online searches so too will it on mobile and as technology improves I’m sure the experience will become richer and richer.

    User requested advertising? Maybe it will go that far.

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  • I own an iphone. I download some free apps and guess what…a whole lot of ads!

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  • As cell services move more and more toward all you can eat for an affordable price buffet, the number of dependent users will rise. Unfortunately, with that goes the growth of cell phone commercials. I just can’t wait till we enter the world where there is no solace left, where even our toilet paper has ads on it.

  • @ Greg I agree. That would be crappy.

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Hi Blog! How’ve You Been?

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  • Eddie

    I think that the predictions may be a little exaggerated but at the same time I can’t deny that marketing has changed drastically in the last few decades and that it is essential to not underestimate the potential of the internet. Along these lines, I recently came across MiCalendar ( they offer a really great interactive marketing solution, where customers can personalize a calendar that has been branded by your company.

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  • Yes, Mobile advertising is starting to get hold and companys are looking to save on advertising budget
    and mobile media is the way to go. Mobile advertising offers all kinds of ads you can place on
    any type of cell phone network for people that use there Blackberry,iPhone,even iPods, and smartphones for text msg. You haven seen anything yet.