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This year, eMarketer’s industry ad spend report series has been updated to reflect growing trends in the digital landscape. Their third annual report now breaks out mobile ad spend vs. desktop, and industry spend by objective (DR vs. branding) across ten industries. As this series is based on agency, brand and digital ad publisher feedback from over 75 sources — and US industries are pouring $50 billion into digital advertising in 2014, with eCommerce leading the pack — we see a lot of valuable takeaways for performance marketers and digital professionals.
The fact that mobile spending currently claims approximately one-third of budgets across all ten sectors is one; here are a few more (plus predictions for what’s around the corner):
According to eMarketer’s breakout charts, the retail industry spends more of its money on mobile than any other industry surveyed. This fact is correlated by the amount of time consumers are spending shopping on mobile devices (particularly tablets) — and DG MediaMind’s findings in a study that concluded Q4. Based on their analysis of 2 billion mobile ad impressions over the course of 11 months, the retail category showed the highest clickthrough rates (CTRs) at 0.52%, compared to seven other verticals. Why is retail so successful on mobile? Based on campaigns we’ve run with our eCommerce clients, it’s clear that visually appealing, product-focused ads with time-limited offer CTAs grab consumer attention and spur quicker conversions — whether that means an online purchase or app download.
The eMarketer benchmark series indicates that digital ad spend for media and entertainment will increase more quickly than many of the other verticals covered. Given that marketers in the gaming space are especially invested in mobile advertising — itself an exponentially growing channel — this is no big surprise. The online gaming companies leveraging our software place a large majority of their budgets on mobile, and we suspect that the gaming vertical would surpass retail in terms of mobile share percentage of overall budget were it separated out from the “entertainment” category. As users continue to migrate from desktop to tablets and smartphones, running screen-neutral campaigns may be the best way for advertisers to capture the most eyeballs. Another migration is occurring within the developer community, where widespread adoption of the freemium monetization model has made in-app purchases crucial to achieving ROAS. Targeting mobile app install ads to gaming enthusiasts most likely to become repeat players and purchasers remains the best method, provided that ongoing creative testing is also put into play.
Online travel agencies (OTAs) heavily favor direct response advertising over branding, investing more in performance advertising than all other industries when it comes to digital spend. Based on eMarketer’s findings, travel is on track for a big increase in digital ad spend YOY for 2014. As mobile airline, hotel and rental car bookings continue to grow, and competition amongst the major OTAs for media inventory heats up, marketers are getting more experimental with ad copy. Similarly to eCommerce, travel industry executives report that same-day and last-minute messaging performs best. Playing up popular vacation destinations and the urge to escape the daily grind is another best practice.