The state of mobile: real activity, but still early days – some stats

By October 21, 2011Uncategorized

Mary Meeker gave her now customary data rich presentation on the state of the internet to the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco earlier this week.  She remains optimistic that we are headed into a wave of innovation and value creation driven by mobile, social and local.

I’ve picked out four of her charts that show where we are in mobile advertising.

This first one shows that the number of smartphone ad impressions is growing fast quarter on quarter and that big companies are now migrating budgets to the platform.


This second chart shows why – we are (finally) transacting over our mobile phones.  It is much more attractive to advertise on the platforms people are using to buy stuff.


But this third chart shows that advertising spend on mobile is way behind media consumption on mobile.  It is a safe bet that publishers will find a way to make their properties work for advertisers and the spend will catch up.  Remember also that mobile consumption is also growing fast.


And finally – this chart shows that smartphones are still only a small percentage of the mobile subscriber base.  All the interesting action described above happens on smartphones and as the penetration increases mobile activity will increase across the board.  One caveat though – this chart shows global figures, and smartphone penetration in the developed world is much higher, around the 50% mark.


  • Kjell

    For me, Slide 3 (time spent vs. % advertising spending) is the key slide here. You have to ask yourself how that gap for digital will be filled. It is clear that it can only come from print. It may come from TV, but to be honest, TV spendings look quite healthy in this regard. And TV is still where the big budgets are spent. 

    Print is where the change needs to happen. And one could argue, that for publishing houses it really does not matter, if an ad budget is spent on their print title or online. Except that online, its more trackable, more transparent – thus potentially under higher pricing pressure. Sounds like a horrible ambivalence and not really like an incentive for the publishing houses to innovate in online/mobile – so the ongoing change (or pressure for change) must come directly from the agencies and (even more so) directly from the client…

  • Hi Kjell – I think print ad budgets will fall as circulation falls, and that the online properties of print organisations will decline as their offline brand declines. Audience share will move to pure online publications.
    I think the real shift will come from TV budgets moving to social media as brands move from a broadcast to an engagement metality. We can see the beginnings of this already with campaigns like Smirnoffs.

  • Kjell

    There is a second question in this, and that is how you define TV. I’ve had a discussion about that recently and basically the outcome was “a screen is a screen is a screen”. I do not think TV in the sense of a user watching a channel or the like will ever go away. Unconnected TV moving to connected TV (is that an Online “video” budget then?) definitely. 

    All I see that right now there is not a shift from TV to anywhere – at least thats my feeling. TV is still huge, and ads are still sold in a pretty old-school, “incentivized” (kickbacks) type of way. Wonder when that will change (and how). Will browse for that Smirnoff-campaign…

  • My gut is that linear TV channels will slowly die, replaced by on demnd streaming, social discovery and curated playlists.
    The shift won’t be quick though.


  • Hi Nic, I did see the original presentation but you’ve picked out the key slides in my opinion.
    I see the biggest opportunity lying in your final comment about % growth of smartphones in the developing world. Our startup will be doing a big push into Asia and Africa right from the start to maximise the opportunity there.
    What’s interesting in our market, sports, is that form the research conducted around a particular demographic we found that users visited almost double the number of web pages on mobile than they would on desktop. The surprise, as slide 3 points out, is how slow the market is to jumping on this growing trend.

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