Posted March 12, 2013 4:13 pm by with 1 comment

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skynetBy 2016 there will be more mobile devices in the world than people. Crazy, huh? The UN projects say 7.3 billion people versus Cisco’s prediction of 10 billion devices.

Looks like that will be the year the machines rise up and take over the planet. All hail Skynet!

Until then, we can look forward to a few more years of healthy growth in the area of mobile advertising. Millennial Media has the scoop in their special Year in Review edition of S.M.A.R.T..

Let’s start with the vertical explosion.

12 different verticals grew spend by over 100 percent year-over-year on our platform. Government Services led the way, and grew 860 percent (primarily driven by election spending).

vertical explosionWhat I get from this is that mobile advertising isn’t just for retail and restaurants. They’re number one by spend, followed by entertainment, but they’ve been at this since the beginning. Now, everyone is getting in on the mobile game – employment, travel, personal services, health and fitness, even energy and power are paying out to keep you informed while you’re on the go.

Post-Click Action

The most popular post-click actions in 2012 was the app download. 37% of campaigns went that route, followed closely by Site Search (29%) and Store Locator or View Map (21%). Video was a big trend in 2012, but only 16% of mobile campaigns asked folks to watch and an equal amount promoted m-commerce. Place Call was the least used action on the chart (9%) which just goes to prove that few people use their mobile phones to actually call people.

The action I’d like to see is Place Text. Last week, I was calling around to a dozen stores to find packing peanuts. Every person who answered the phone wanted to engage me in conversation and by the fifth call all I wanted was a yes or a no. From the business end, I understand why they want me on the phone, but from a consumer end it was a waste of time. If I could look up the stores on my mobile phone, then click to text them the question, it would have saved me an hour of dialing and chatting.

Programmers – think about this option the next time you’re working on an ad campaign or mobile site.


Moms are always high on the target list when it comes to web and social media, but on the mobile side, not so much. Moms came in tenth overall for 2012. The only time they topped the list was during back-to-school. Millennial Media says that IT Decision Makers were the most targeted users on their ad network. They were followed by Gadget Geeks, In-Market Auto Buyers, Business Travelers and Small Business Decision Makers in that order.
Seems like a very male oriented list. You have to drop to 6th place to hit Avid Shopper which explains why m-commerce as an option was so low.

Location targeting was also very important with 40% of CPG spend on their platform included some form of location-based targeting.

All in all, it was a good year for mobile advertising and we’re just getting started. As we move through 2013, mobile ads are becoming more interactive and creative and that’s a plus for marketers and consumers. It’s time to test the boundaries. Just one word of caution – if your mobile device starts shopping while you’re sleeping it might be time to pull the plug on the wireless router.


  • Matthew Scott K

    Very cool. Thanks for pulling the stats together.