Marketers are showing a rapidly growing interest in buying mobile ads. The Mobile Buyer textmessageResearch Report from Rubicon Project notes that global spending on this format will rise to $18 billion by the end of this year. The results of the firm’s research also reveal shifts in how buyers and sellers are changing their behavior in the mobile marketplace.

As mobile grows more accepted, researchers want to know how agencies are making their buys in the space. Since the advent of digital advertising, agencies have been developing trading desks – automated systems (with human oversight) to purchase ad space. The trading desks are at work in the mobile inventory space and researchers find that buyers (trading desks) have a much bigger interest in demand-side platforms (DSP). This year, nearly 90% of buyers intend to use DSP. Other options are ad networks or purchasing direct from publishers. In the mobile space, those 2 formats currently appeal to only a little over 35% of buyers. Analysts believe the DSP format makes ad buying more efficient. In addition, higher-quality formats like rich media are available in increasing numbers through DSP.

Buyers also like private marketplaces. At least 95% of agency traders now make some of their mobile purchases in private marketplaces.

In general, agencies are interested in a variety of mobile formats. In 2014, they say they’ll allocate their spending to:

  • Mobile optimized sites: 31%
  • Tablet (standard web): 33%
  • In-app: 36%

The interest in in-app advertising is expected to increase. Marketers realize that app users have given up some personal information and when they use the app they’ve downloaded, they can be efficiently targeted.

In addition to considering format, buyers also consider various mobile ad types. This year, there’s keen interest in:

  • Standard: 69%
  • Rich media: 59%
  • Video: 54%

Buyers told Rubicon Project that they believe their mobile ad spending will grow from 7% (2013) of the budget to 16% this year. This rapid growth rate underscores the need for  improved tracking technologies. For now, analysts believe that market is still wide open with a number of vendors competing to own and define the space. This will be especially true as performance metrics like CTR give way to reach and marketers use mobile for branding in addition to direct response campaigns.

To learn more about Mobile Marketing Responders, check out the Audience Interests & Intent Report available at the Research Store on ad-ology.com.