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Banner ads are dead because your phone killed them

A new digital spending report sees mobile ads flying past desktop this year.

People Celebrate The Spring Festival In China Kevin Frayer / Getty

It has been a long time coming, but the thing that fueled so many internet companies — the desktop banner ad — is finally being trumped.

Global spending on mobile ads will surpass desktop spending for the first time next year, according to Zenith, the research arm of ad giant Publicis Groupe.

And banner ads will fall sooner. Zenith estimates that spending on digital display ads, those splashy strips on desktop and mobile devices, will shrink by 3.1 percent this year and stay flat, as dollars shift to online video and social media.

By next year, advertisers will spend a projected $32.6 billion on social media ads, edging out display. Online video will almost catch up to display by 2018.

It’s good news for Facebook, which claims a bulk of social dollars and a growing video share. It’s less comforting for Google, which dominates display ads — although it has YouTube and Zenith sees search ads continuing to grow, albeit at a slower clip than video and social.

Both companies are probably parsing reports like this for another nugget: By next year, per Zenith, the biggest mobile ad market won’t be the U.S. It will be China.

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