Dollars Spent On Advertising Still Don't Match Time Spent—But It Shouldn't

There is still huge disparities between the advertising dollars spent on certain mediums and the time consumers spend on them, according to a new study by mobile analytics firm Flurry. A version of this chart pops up every few months or so with the implication that these bars should square off in the near-future. However, this assumption ignores that some mediums are just more effective advertising platforms regardless of time spent.

Mobile advertising, in particular, still badly lags the time consumers spend on their devices. The study blames the disparity on the rapid rise of the mobile app platform over the past few years, which has supposedly caught advertisers off-guard. However, mobile ad analytics, measurement, and targeting have not caught up with their online counterparts yet either. It also goes without saying that ads on mobile are very small. 

Yes, there’s still too much spent on print and some will inevitably shift to mobile as consumers increasingly read magazines and newspapers on their tablets. But on the whole, there’s no reason why ad spending should track consumer time spent precisely. The relationship is more complex than that. 

2011 U.S. Ad Spending vs. Consumer Time Spent By Media

Photo: VSS, Mary Meeker (KPCB), comScore, Alexa, Flurry Analytics

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