Attention, newspapers, magazines, and radio. For the first time, mobile ads will zoom past your ads this year.

That’s the forecast today from market research firm eMarketer in its quarterly report, studded with record breakers. Mobile in particular is the star, for the first time totalling a tenth of all media ad spending and landing in third place behind TV and desktops/laptops.

“It was a pretty big year,” eMarketer’s PR director Dan Marcec told VentureBeat. “I didn’t realize it until I started looking at the numbers.”


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The growth in mobile and TV ads will propel the U.S. market to its biggest increase in a decade — 5.3 percent over last year. This is the first growth spurt of more than 5 percent since 2004, and the total ad market in 2014 will top $180 billion.

More peaks:

• A whopping 83 percent more will be spent this year on ads for tablets and smartphones than last year, which translates into an additional $8 billion.

• TV advertising, although rising only 3.3 percent in 2014, will account for an additional $2.19 billion spent this year over last.

• Digital media is still 10 percent less of the total spending than is TV, but eMarketer projects digital will exceed TV within four years. “Digital media surpassing TV by 2018 will be a large milestone,” Marcec pointed out.

• Spending on digital channels will grow to more than $50 billion this year for the first time, exceeding last year by nearly 18 percent.

• Also within four years, mobile ads will go from about 10 percent of all spending to more than a quarter. Mobile will exceed print by 2016, just around the corner. Meanwhile, TV, print, radio, outdoor and directories will remain flat over that time, or will decline slightly.

eMarketer- ads - July

What’s driving this growth?

Overall, eMarketer says, ad spending is being “influenced in part by growing revenues from leading internet media companies” that sell digital ads, led by Google and Facebook. Together, those two giants now represent 15 percent of the total media ad market.

[Note: For more about how the tricks and tools companies are using to drive growth on mobile, come to our MobileBeat 2014 event, where representatives from fastest companies will be represented.]

As for mobile ads, the growth is being driven by the time we’re spending with our tablets and smartphones — nearly three hours daily this year, an average of about 30 minutes per day more than last year and about 40 minutes more a day than time spent with desktops/laptops.

Smartphones, in fact, are more important in the lives of many users than coffee or TV.

“A lot of this is just advertisers moving with how consumers are spending their time,” Marcec said. “[It’s] the market catching up with time spent.”

More information:

eMarketer is the industry's leading research firm, providing data, insights and perspectives for marketing in a digital world. Our research helps marketers answer three essential questions: how consumers spend their time, how consumers... read more »

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