Mobile Ad Targeting Still A Distant Dream

Spending is up but precision is rare

Total spending on mobile advertising is growing fast; 48 percent this year, according to eMarketer.

But right now money is flowing into mobile because advertisers have learned to fish where the fish are, not because of the potential offered by tiny, precision-targeted, web-connected, location-aware ads.

Meanwhile, although more ads are now being served up onto phones running Google's Android operating system, users of iPhone and iPad are more likely to click through.


Total spending continues to surge…

Us Mobile Ad Spending $ millions
2009 416
2010 743
2011 1,102
2012 1,501
2013 2,037
2014 2,550
Source: eMarketer, September 2010  

..and search ads are the biggest chunk…

US Mobile Ad Spending by Format, 2014 % of total spending
Search 54
Display 27
Text messaging 19
Source: BIA Kelsey, December 2010  

…while targeting is limited to phone compatibility…

Targeting method % of mobile ads servd using this criterion
Feature (eg rich media support) 33
Location 15
Handset model 14
Age 7
Country 5
Source: Jumptap S.T.A.T., May 2011  

…and Android users attract more ads but iOS users click through

Mobile operating system % of ads served % clicktrough rate
Android 39 0.4
iOS 30 0.8
Blackberry 25 0.4
Symbian 4 0.35
Source: BIA Kelsey, December 2010