The signs of the growth of mobile advertising, at the expense of digital forms, have long been evident. But the speed with which this shift is occurring seemingly is taking many marketers by surprise, because it is virtually unprecedented.

Woman In Shopping Mall Using Mobile PhoneConsider some of the numbers: In 2015, spending on mobile advertising will increase by more than half of its current rate. At the same time, spending on digital advertising will drop approximately 5 percent. Within just a couple of years, mobile advertising will be a bigger market than digital advertising.

Both forms are similar, in the sense that they are clearly distinct from traditional advertising and seek to reach technologically savvy shoppers. But they require unique approaches and marketing plans, because a campaign that works well on a user’s desktop computer might not function effectively on a tablet or smartphone. Furthermore, mobile advertising offers functionalities and advertising tactics that digital ads cannot provide. In particular, when advertising appears on a user’s smartphone, is nearly inevitably present, because modern consumers use their phones constantly and in virtually all situations. In addition, mobile advertising allows brands and marketers to send timely, location-based communications to consumers at the moment they enter a store or begin a search for a nearby restaurant on their phones.

Another trend occurring apace with this shift is the rise of ad-blocking technology. Apple now allows users to install software to block banner ads in digital channels. Although consumers indicate that they would like the ability to block advertising in mobile settings as well, marketing messages contained within apps continue to be prevalent. In this sense, advertisers might seek to expand their mobile marketing, to avoid the barriers that consumers can implement on their desktops.

In the longer term though, the shift to more mobile advertising likely implies the need for new forms of marketing communication, including game-oriented, social content, and informational advertising that does not really look like advertising at all.

Discussion Question:

What are some of the advantages of mobile marketing, compared with digital advertising?


Source: Miriam Gottfried, “Publishers Face Moving Target in Mobile,” The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2015