eMarketer: US Mobile Advertising Spend to Grow 47 Percent in 2012, Reaching $1.8B

New forecasts out from eMarketer peg mobile advertising spend in 2012 at $1.8B, growing a healthy 47% during the year.

A majority of the growth will be attributed to search and display (banners, rich media and video) ad units, in addition to continued adoption of smartphones, tablets and mobile Web usage.  “Mobile advertising is no longer a question of ‘if’ but of ‘when,’” said Noah Elkin, principal analyst at eMarketer and author of the new report, ‘Mobile Advertising and Marketing: Moving to the Mainstream.’  “A key factor pushing mobile advertising toward the mainstream is that mobile web access is fast becoming more the norm than the exception.  This makes mobile a greater imperative than ever for marketers.”

As consumers continue to purchase smartphones and tablets in droves, eMarketer’s latest forecast is sharply higher than its previous projections.  Relative to the September 2010 forecast, mobile ad spending projections for 2011 through 2014 have been revised upward anywhere from 11% to 33% per year.  The research firm also projects that mobile display ad spending will overtake messaging to become the largest overall format in 2012.  Within the display category, rich media and video are growing the fastest as marketers seek to translate the desktop’s engaging brand experiences to smartphones and tablets.

“Consumers increasingly expect to communicate, network, browse and shop from a range of devices, and the growing sophistication of smart devices will only accelerate this trend,” said Elkin. “But whether consumers access the web from a PC or a mobile device will ultimately take a back seat to marketers’ ability to build campaigns that reach across channels and devices and focus on targeting specific actions.”