Mobile advertising spending grew 45% in 2016 and in-app and mobile video are the winners

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Mobile ad spending has increased almost 45% during the last year compared to 2015. That’s according to mobile publisher and app developer platform Smaato, which has analysed billions of mobile ad impressions served on its exchange to find out what the Global Trends in Mobile Advertising are for Q4 2016.

Global mobile advertising trends – in-app versus mobile web

The Americas drive most of this growth (56%), whilst APAC ranked second, followed by EMEA (14%).

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Much of APAC’s growth during Q4 2016 was driven by the region’s two biggest markets – China and Japan. China had the single highest growth of any one major market worldwide. It tripled its mobile ad spend in 2016 on the Smaato platform at a 252% growth. Meanwhile, Japan doubled its ad spending (143%).

Whilst digital advertising is being largely dominated by mobile and predicted to make up 71% of all digital spend in 2019, in-app advertising holds the largest share of mobile ad spend on the Smaato platform. Indeed, 85% of ad spend went to in-app ads compared to 15% on mobile web.

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However, findings by eMarketer highlight that mobile web is still a much larger share of the market outside of the Smaato platform.

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But the forward trend seems to be in Smaato’s favour with the large majority of user time now being spent in-app (86%) on smartphones. Indeed, as a consistent consumer shift to apps occurs, advertisers are following.

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More importantly, this trend is also evident in the eCPMs advertisers are willing to pay for in-app mobile ads. On the Smaato platform, those increased 130% while mobile web eCPMs only grew 67% over 2016. However, both in-app and mobile web have seen growing eCPMs.

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Smaato also examined in-app versus mobile web spend by country and found that despite China’s and Australia’s lead in in-app spending, overall APAC in-app mobile ad spend was lower compared to the global average of 80%. At the same time, EMEA had a slightly higher than average in-app ad development.

Video wins 

Video has continued to be strong and favourable format for many advertisers and Smaato’s latest data confirms such statements. Video ad spend grew a whopping 172% on the Smaato platform during the fourth quarter 2016 alone. Mobile ad spend on the format more than doubled in the US market (129%) and growth exploded in China (>1000%).

Smaato says that the rise of mobile video advertising should not be under-emphasised. It is huge. Indeed, mobile video grew worldwide. EMEA saw a 20x increase of video ad spend compared to Q3 2016 and APAC noted an even larger jump during the quarter.

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Smaato also noted that not the US, but Germany was the largest spender with the highest global mobile video eCPM during Q4 2016.

When it comes to video advertising size formats, Smaato advertisers prefer vertical interstitial video ad (320×480), followed by medium video banner (300×250) and horizontal video interstitial (480×320).

An even closer look at mobile video ad eCPMs reveals that outstream and instream types are the highest overall eCPM premiums from advertisers who prefer these types of mobile ads.

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The week in mobile ad spend

The question of when to advertise for best ROI continues to be of debate. On the Smaato platform, Friday and Saturday outperformed all other days. Monday continues to be the lowest day for ad spending in the week.

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These patterns tend to be fairly uniform across worldwide spending patterns. Depending on store opening hours in a given country, mobile ads spend rates were higher on a Friday or spread more evenly across the weekend.

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Though these findings are largely restricted to the Smaato SPX, they undoubtedly offer valuable insights in the mobile advertising trends of 2016 and those ahead.