How Big is the Mobile Marketing Opportunity?

Guest post by Pavel Webb, affiliate manager at TextMagic, discussing how big the mobile marketing opportunity is, whether mobile spend will follow eyeballs, Google and mobile, Apps, ads and SMS.

The Mobile Marketing Opportunity is Huge

Just how big is the mobile marketing opportunity? If the figures from the US are any indication, it’s big. Just like Internet advertising, eyeballs equal opportunities, and opportunities for mobile are immense.

In 2011, it was estimated that the global number of mobiles is around 5.6 billion handsets. The number of smartphones is minuscule by comparison, but has a massive up-side. Current estimates put smartphones at around 866 million worldwide. As a marketing opportunity both the SMS-enabled phones and the smartphones with robust browsers and app capabilities represents a huge opportunity for marketers looking to reach into their customers pockets (literally).


Will mobile ad spend follow eyeballs?

At Web 2.0 Summit in 2011, Mary Meeker of KPCB showed an enlightening graph. Mobile media viewing times now EQUAL that of print. That means that a full 8% of the average American’s time is spent on mobile media consumption. Yet, only 0.5% of ad spend is in mobile, compared the 27% ad spend in print.

If the trend for spend follows where people are actually consuming media, then both Internet and mobile adds up to a pretty substantial opportunity that Meeker estimates at around $20 billion in the USA alone.

Google and mobile

Google has been pushing mobile through its mobile initiative that is aimed at helping businesses, marketers and their agencies get into mobile marketing. Google even partnered with mobile website developers Mobify to ‘mobilize’ business in Mobile Alabama.

Why is Google doing this?

Mobile search volume increased by 4 times between 2010 and 2011 (source: Google You know it expects mobile search revenue to be a significant source of growth for the company.

Here are just a few of Google’s own stats that outline the size of the opportunities for mobile search marketing (source: Google

  • 4x growth in mobile search since 2010
  • 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information
  • 61% called the business after searching

Apps, ads and SMS

The marketing opportunities with the growth in smartphone ownership are staggering. While mobile advertising itself has grown since 2008, the exponential growth of the app market has taken everyone by surprise.

Mobile Content – The Exponential Growth of the App Market has Taken Everyone by Surprise

Added together, Meeker showed that mobile marketing across ads and apps has a 153% CAGR over the three years from 2008 to 2011, reaching around $12B globally by Q2 2011.

SMS is not discussed as much as the sexy apps and ads, but with almost all of the >5 billion handsets out there capable of receiving SMS messages, shrewd marketers are already finding a willing audience with mobile coupons, voucher codes and service messages leading the way.

When will the breakthrough happen?

It’s difficult to predict, but some estimates putt mobile ad spend outpacing outline somewhere around 2015. However, it could be ten years before that happens, and anyhow, as Razorfish points out, does it matter when the opportunities are so clearly available?

About the Author:

Pavel Webb is the affiliate manager at TextMagic, a bulk SMS gateway based in United Kingdom.


Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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