IAB: Mobile Ad Revenue Hit $8.9B In 2012

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IAB 2012Mobile advertising revenue jumped from $5.3 billion in 2011 to $8.9 billion last year in an 83% increase globally, according to a new report from the IAB and IHS.  And even though brands are experimenting with more interactive, media-rich ads, search is still king, representing 52.8% or $4.7 billion of all ad revenue.

Google took a sizeable chunk of that -- perhaps as much as half. According to eMarketer, Google captured 93.3% US mobile search ad dollars last year, and it commands a similar share in Europe.

Display ads accounted for 38.7% of mobile ad revenues while messaging-based ads continued to fall and now account for just 8.5% of mobile ad revenues.  When broken down by region, Asia-Pacific pulled in the majority of the $8.9 billion in mobile ad revenue at 40.2%, followed by North America (39.8%), Western Europe (16.9%), Central Europe (1.3%), the Middle East and Africa (1.2%) and Latin America (0.6%).

Despite the healthy growth, the mobile ad marketplaces is screaming for change, according to Joe Laszlo, senior director at IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence. “The media selling side of the industry needs to do better to make sure [mobile ad] metrics are reliable and accurate and there also needs to be movement on the buy side,” Laszlo maintained during a webinar explaining the report’s findings. “It [mobile advertising] is not going to be exactly the same as it is on the web and buyers need to learn a slightly different measurement regime for mobile.”

Scalability, attribution, transparency and targeting limitations continue to slow down investments in mobile advertising.

“There is still a lot of work to do,” noted Daniel Knapp, director of advertising research at HIS. “Mobile consumption is fragmented and we don’t know how to relate one data source to another. It’s also a question of how actionable the data is. When marketers look at mobile, many see a black box.”

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