NEW YORK: Mobile advertising expenditure in the US will more than double year on year in 2013, according to new figures which also forecast that mobile spend will overtake desktop spend within four years.

Insights provider eMarketer expected mobile adspend to increase 120% to $9.60bn in 2013 and to reach $35.62bn in 2017. By contrast, desktop adspend will grow marginally this year, up 1.7% to $32.98bn, before peaking at $33.12bn in 2014 and then slipping back to $27.21bn in 2017.
Desktop spending was levelling off more quickly than had been anticipated, said eMarketer, although there were certain formats where there would be "significant incremental increases in ad spending". In particular, those that lend themselves to branding, such as sponsorships and video, would prosper.

Most of the growth in mobile advertising expenditure in 2013 was directed towards search, banners and rich media ad formats. According to eMarketer, search advertising spending was expected to rise 119%, while the increase for banner ad spending stood at 155% and that for rich media at 96%.

In subsequent years, eMarketer predicted more modest double-digit growth, but added that the outlook was bright, given that consumers were continuing to shift to smartphones and tablets and publishers were developing more ad products for mobile.

Clark Fredricksen, eMarketer VP, noted that in 2011 and 2012 many advertisers had not yet been ready to make invest significantly in the mobile channel.

"The infrastructure wasn't necessarily there," he told Advertising Age. "Poor mobile web and app experiences were rampant, particularly among retailers." But investment by brands and retailers was changing all that.

Fredricksen also pointed to publishers like Google and Facebook "finally developing mobile-ad experiences that advertisers are comfortable with".

He noted that these two businesses would benefit from being able to sell advertising across devices, while traditional media had lagged in this respect.

"Longer term, we expect that as other publishers continue to make investments in mobile, both in user acquisition and ad products, they'll catch up," Fredricksen added.

Data sourced from eMarketer, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff