By many accounts, mobile marketing is poised to be a growth sector for the ad industry in 2010. As more consumers begin to use smart phones, the growth of advertising on the small screen seems 1080894_cellphonelogical.  But eMarketer cautions that the shift to mobile marketing will experience bumps, much like the rough growth rate for online advertising, as consumers adapt their behavior and begin using smart phone technology.

Here are the predicted total revenue numbers and growth projections offered by eMarketer for this sector:

  • 2008 $320 million
  • 2009 $416 million 30% growth
  • 2010 $593 million 42% growth
  • 2011 $830 million 40% growth
  • 2012 $1.140 billion 37% growth
  • 2013 $1.560 billion 36% growth

eMarketer analysts point out the difficulty of classifying and measuring the types of marketing that comprise mobile marketing. According to Kelsey Group figures, the mobile marketing segments in 2008 were as follows:

  • SMS 63%
  • Search 24%
  • Display 13%

These numbers are somewhat open to interpretation because it’s often difficult to draw the line between online, wireless and mobile expenditures. However, mobile marketing will experience phenomenal growth rates but not all forms of media will fare equally. Both Kelsey Group and eMarketer analysts believe that search and display will become the dominant forces in the industry, at the expense of SMS.  For now, SMS remains the leader because it was the first format used by mobile marketers and it’s the format that the majority of smart phone users recognize. Over the next five years, as more consumers delve into the increasing functionality of their smart phones, search, display and even video will become important forms of mobile marketing.

[Source: Change is in the air for mobile advertising, eMarketer, October 2009]