The Mobile Advertising Ecosystem Explained


We are in the post-PC era, and soon billions of consumers will be carrying around Internet-connected mobile devices for up to 16 hours a day. 

Mobile audiences have exploded as a result.Mobile advertising should be a bonanza, similar to online advertising a decade ago. However, it has been a bit slow off the ground, and its growth trajectory is not clear cut.

In a recent report from BI Intelligence on the mobile advertising ecosystem, we explain the complexities and fractures, and examine the central and dynamic roles played by mobile ad networks, demand side platforms, mobile ad exchanges, real-time bidding, agencies, brands, and new companies hoping to upend the traditional banner ad.

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Here’s the dynamics surrounding the mobile advertising ecosystem:

  • Mobile advertising is relatively tiny: U.S. mobile ad revenue was $1.2 billion last year, a tiny fraction of overall U.S. ad spend. And most “mobile ads” were simply search and display ads viewed on mobile.  According to BI Intelligence estimates, mobile advertising is on track to hit $3.2 billion this year. 
  • Why? Mobile CPMS are low, and ads are oftentimes intrusive. Ad spending has therefore not caught up with time spent on mobile. These will remain significant challenges to mobile ads.
  • Also, the mobile ad ecosystem is very complex: The mobile ad ecosystem is not as strictly delineated as the desktop ecosystem. In mobile advertising, the rules of the road change with different combinations of device, wireless operator, and operating system.
  • And there are few shared protocols or standards: Mobile lacks the technical consensus that enables ad targeting, delivery, and measurement to work fairly seamlessly across the desktop world. As the mobile ad industry matures it will likely become more streamlined and simple, but for now there are innumerable actors interacting with one another and attempting to find a niche.
  • The display ad category presents a dynamic and complicated future: Google dominated the paid search category, which accounted for 62 per cent of mobile global ad spend last year. But, mobile ad networks, demand side platforms, mobile ad exchanges are all part of a dynamic ecosystem that is constantly evolving and trying to grow non-search mobile related advertising. New companies are also testing out and finding some success with mobile native ad formats. 

In full, the report:

  • Explains how the mobile ad ecosystem is fractured and complex
  • analyses how mobile ad networks play a central role that is coming under threat
  • Examines how demand side platforms and mobile ad exchanges are streamlining the market
  • Breaks down how real-time bidding will play a growing role
  • Details how agencies are coming around to mobile and are trying to bring big brands along
  • Explains how new companies are emerging with native ad formats that are hoping to upend the traditional banner ad

To access BI Intelligence’s full reports on The Mobile Advertising Ecosystem, sign up for a free trial subscription here.

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