Online, mobile audiences set for huge growth

17 May 2010

MOSCOW: The global online and mobile phone audiences will both more than double in size in the next decade, Google has predicted.

Speaking at the 42nd IAA Global Conference in Moscow, Nikesh Arora, Google's president of global sales and business development, argued that the internet population was set for explosive growth.

He suggested that the total number of netizens would expand from 1.8 billion at present to some five billion people by 2020.

"The distinction between the offline world and the online world will go away," Arora said. 

"I think in the next five to eight years, 30% to 50% of the media is going to be consumed on the web, and if you look at the advertising proportion of the internet versus the overall ad market, we are still under 10%."

Connection speeds are also likely to be five times faster than current limits by 2020, when the number of pieces of content on the web will reach an estimated 53 sextillion (a sextillion being a figure represented by a 1 followed by 21 zeros).

"We're going to have a problem ... it's going to be very hard to find the information that's relevant to us," Arora added.

During the same period, the mobile user base will increase from 4.6 billion people to 10 billion people, with this group using a widely diverse range of wireless digital devices.

"I think mobile is a fantastic opportunity… The advent of the iPhone, the Android devices and the BlackBerry have finally given people reason in the western world [to] start using the mobile data,” Arora said.

"As you see that go up, you begin to see the relevance of advertising in those applications."

Arora also predicted that the amount of broadcast material accessible via these handsets will rise dramatically going forward, helping fuel a spike in interest among brand owners.

Google has been involved in an increasingly competitive race with Apple to capitalise on growth in the mobile market, with both firms acquiring specialist ad networks in the last year.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Reuters; additional content by Warc staff