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Mobile is driving most ad spending growth worldwide

By 2019, advertisers will spend more on mobile than all traditional media, except television, put together. 

Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Mobile advertising is driving most ad spending growth worldwide, according to forecasts released this week by media measurement company Zenith. Globally, mobile ad spending is expected to grow $27 billion, or 34 percent, to $107 billion in 2017. Zenith considers mobile advertising to be any type of ad — video, search, display — delivered to smartphones and tablets.

The gains come as consumers more frequently access the web on their phones. Indeed, smartphones are driving all growth in web traffic.

Meanwhile desktop (non-mobile) advertising is expected to drop $2.9 billion, or 3 percent, to $96 billion. Newspaper ad spending is expected to decline the most, down $4.3 billion in 2017.

Global ad spend overall is expected to grow 4 percent this year, reaching $558 billion by year end.

Online display ads, including social media in-feed ads, online video and other digital formats, are the fastest-growing ad types.

Internet ad spending has been transitioning to mobile over the past few years. By 2019, mobile spending will reach $156 billion and will account for 62.5 percent of internet expenditure and 26.4 percent of all expenditure, according to Zenith. That’s more than all the traditional media, except television, put together.

In general, internet ad spending has seen a meteoric rise. Zenith expects it to make up 42 percent of global ad spending by 2019 — that’s gone from basically nothing to nearly half in 20 years.

Back in the 1990s, TV and newspaper ad spending were leading the pack. Since then, thanks to the rise of the internet and web advertising, newspaper ad sales have plummeted and TV ads have stagnated.

This article originally appeared on

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