Marketers Rely on Agencies and Networks for Mobile

Last week I blogged on the expected boom in mobile ad spending. The Internet Advertising Bureau, earlier this year, projected a 2010 spending level of $593 million for mobile media with total spending in 2013 to reach $1.450 billion. But who exactly is buying mobile ads? Millennial Media’s State of the Industry survey attempts to answer this question. Their findings offer insight into the world of mobile advertising from an ad network operator’s perspective.


About 23% of ad agencies are spending $100,000 on mobile ads for their clients this year. Another 30% are spending between $100,000 and $249,999 this year on behalf of clients. To place their mobile buys, agencies are largely working with ad networks. About 40% work with a single ad network while another 40% work with 2 networks. Only 9% of agencies buy directly from a publisher.

Here are the criteria used when determining where to make a mobile ad campaign purchase:

  • Geography 52.2%
  • Age 39.1%
  • Gender 28.3%
  • Behavior 28.3%
  • Location 26.1%
  • Carrier 17.1%


Brand marketers are also using mobile advertising. But many of these businesses rely on agencies to carry out the campaigns. For the most part (62.5%), brand marketers say having mobile as part of the media mix is indispensable. Another 37.5% of these companies say that mobile marketing is nice to have. At least 25% of these marketers say they’ll spend $5 million on mobile advertising this year, a significant jump from the 12.5% of companies who did so last year.

Overall, 78% of marketers who’ve used mobile say that the results meet or exceed goals. As the numbers indicate, mobile advertising appears to have a bright future. The major difficulty encountered when launching these campaigns is complexity. Marketers must work with partners who have expertise in technology, metrics, and ad buying. For many, relying on an ad agency makes the process more cost efficient.

[Sources: US Spending on Mobile Display Ads Will Nearly Quadruple over the Next Five Years, ABI Research. 7 Jul. 2010. Web. 16 Jul. 2010; The State of the Industry: Mobile Advertising. Millennial Media. Web. 20 Jul. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.