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While advertisers are still struggling to find ways to make mobile advertising as profitable as desktop ads, there’s at least some good news: Revenue from mobile ads is soaring globally.

A new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) says mobile ad revenue around the world increased a staggering 82.8 percent to $8.9 billion in 2012 from $5.3 billion in 2011. Specifically, mobile search ads garnered an 88.8 percent increase, mobile display ads saw an 87.3 percent bump, and mobile messaging ads were boosted 40.2 percent.

“Mobile is coming into its own as a powerhouse advertising medium,” Anna Bager, VP of IAB’s mobile marketing center, said in a statement. “Today’s advertising is happening in a world where ad campaigns can be planned and bought across global networks on multiple media, but the massive and continuing acceleration of mobile’s international impact provides new and exciting frontiers for content and communication.”

Here’s how the revenue was broken down by each region of the world:

• Asia-Pacific: 40.2% ($3.558 billion)
• North America: 39.8% ($3.525 billion)
• Western Europe: 16.9% ($1.499 billion)
• Central Europe: 1.3% ($112 million)
• Middle East & Africa: 1.2% ($109 million)
• Latin America: 0.6% ($50 million)

Growth was strong across the board in each region as well. North America led with 111 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. Latin America was up 71 percent, Central Europe was up 69 percent, Middle-East and Africa was up 68 percent, and Asia-Pacific was up 60 percent.

The biggest factors for the revenue increase were huge smartphone adoption, more 3G and 4G penetration, and better targeting.

One company that has recently seen incredible traction on mobile is Facebook. The company now controls approximately a quarter of all mobile display revenues.


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