Mobile Advertising: The numbers are starting to add….and add up!

Sound bite: Mobile advertising is going to be a huge market. The “stats” and common sense converge…

It’s practically old news to say that Gartner believes the mobile advertising market is worth some $2.7 billion today and growing to $12 billion by 2012. For comparison, studies generated by the Kelsey Group say the online advertising industry is estimated to be about $30-40 billion today, and growing to some $140+ billion in the same period. As with much statistical research, not all of it is completely accurate – if any at all. Yet, it is always useful for corporate navigation and promotional strategy.

Being a staunch believer in the future of the mobile advertising industry, I do see merit in Gartner’s estimates. There is considerable data to support this trend. Already, the mobile market is three times that of the fixed Internet one, yet online ad spending is nearly 20 times the size. Clearly, the “mob ad “ world is in a nascent stage, with space for massive growth. This is especially true when you consider that online advertising, on its own, accounts for a mere 7% of total global ad spend.

Looking at sheer numbers of subscribers isn’t a useful enough indicator. What matters is if consumers notice mobile ads. Studies show that yes, they do…they really do. According to Dynamic Logic, mobile advertising increases consumer awareness by close to 24% and augments intent to purchase by nearly 5%. Not bad. Studies say agencies big and small are rushing to offer clients mobile-based promoting tools. Being a principal of a newly founded mobile ad company, we are witnessing this first hand.

Since we have already admitted that stats are usually wrong, let’s examine the situation empirically. Mobile phones are typically always on and with their owner. We text, we call, we surf – we do everything on our trusty device. We leave our laptop at home. Our overzealous usage is even playing a hand at our evolutionary path. Our thumbs will become more angular so that texting can be more efficient. There is only so much content (advertisements) that can be served up on a phone. Therefore, advertising realty is limited and we become a captive audience to unique marketers’ messages.

Given all this, it’s safe to say that if marketers really want to reach consumers, they will inevitably need to establish a savvy way to speak to them on their mobiles. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself what would be more inconvenient: no phone or no laptop?