There have been some big numbers thrown at the medium of mobile advertising recently — eMarketer says it will make $2.6 billion in the U.S. alone this year; the IAB says that 72 percent of top brand marketers are going to increase spend in the medium in the next two years.
But some new research from app analytics firm Flurry throws a little bit of cold water on what, exactly, is happening in the world of mobile ads today.
In short, there may be more money being pumped into mobile ads, but it’s still nowhere near matching the amount of time people spend on mobile, and nowhere near what brands are investing in other mediums like TV, online and even print.
Mobile, Flurry found, had one of the biggest differentials between time spent on the platform and actual ad money invested in it:
People spend 23 percent of their time on mobile devices — second only to TV at 40 percent. And yet mobile is only getting about one percent of ad budget spend, compared to TV getting 43 percent. The only medium that exceeded mobile was print — but in the other direction: print gets 29 percent of ad spend, but accounts for only six percent of people’s leisure time.
Why the massive disparity? Flurry’s reason: that mobile has simply grown too fast for advertising to catch up with it. “Madison Avenue and brands have yet to adjust to an unprecedented adoption of apps by consumers,” the blog notes.
It also points out that a lot of the processes that have been put into place for online ads — for example, demand-side platforms and and formats for tracking — are still not as standard in mobile as they are on the web.
There are certainly a lot of changes underfoot already, with companies like Google gradually centralizing their online and mobile advertising businesses, but the fact remains that mobile advertising can be a disjointed stab in the dark for those investing in it.
Who to target? The other key area where Flurry has drawn out some numbers is in trying to figure out who, exactly, is the most valuable mobile advertising customer at the moment.
Based on data from some 60,000 iOS users from Flurry’s own AppCircle mobile ad network, it found that middle-class, college-educated women, aged 25-34, are driving the biggest click-through and conversion rates at the moment. The result is somewhat surprising, if only because mobile content isn’t something that feels inherently female — although it seems that women at least respond to the ads alongside that content better than men do.
The only age bracket where males proved to be more mobile-ad friendly was 13-17, where males just edged out females in their responsiveness — very likely a result of twitchy fingers playing mobile games.