Mobile is currently the second-largest ad medium by spend, and will overtake TV across key markets this year if current growth rates are maintained, according to a new WARC report.

The latest monthly Global Ad Trends, produced by WARC Data, focuses on mobile and notes that almost 80% of mobile ad market value has been created in just the last five years, driven by a sharp rise in daily mobile internet consumption – in turn driven by the use of social and video platforms.

Research from the 96 markets monitored by WARC shows that in 2018 advertisers spent an estimated $137.9bn to reach these mobile users, or $35.36 each, a figure that is going to grow further in the years ahead.

Of the 800 senior marketing and advertising practitioners surveyed for WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit, 71% expect a rise in mobile budgets this year, with most money going to Google- and Facebook-owned platforms – and by extension the majority of spending will be traded programmatically based on user data.

Added to that, the rollout of 5G, which begins in earnest this year, will facilitate higher connection speeds and data transfer, boosting mobile video ad investment as brands aim to reach the forecast 1.5bn 5G users by 2024. Approaching three quarters of internet users will be mobile-only by this time, with China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan accounting for half of all mobile user growth.

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That’s the upside, but significant concerns remain around issues like ad viewability and measurement: around half of mobile (non-video) display ads still fail to meet MRC viewability standards, while one in five respondents to the Marketer’s Toolkit survey were unable to measure mobile ROI accurately and most (59%) were uncertain.

And looming behind these particular industry complaints is the much larger issue of consumer data and how it’s used. Most marketers in the US, for example, are not particularly worried about the way they are using such data but fewer than half of Americans trust social media companies with their personal data, while most (74%) are unaware that Facebook collects data relating to their interests.

But that is what is fuelling the Facebook-Google duopoly, which, as James McDonald, Data Editor, WARC, notes, attracted over $150bn last year by pairing advertisers with users based on their own data.

“There remains significant uncertainty around mobile effectiveness and ROI,” McDonald added, “yet there is also little sign advertisers will rethink their spending plans for mobile-first platforms in the coming years.

“These trends are set to make mobile, in all its forms, the number one ad medium across major markets this year.”

Sourced from WARC