Many marketers had predicted that 2007 was going to be the year that this advertising option would break through to the mainstream, but Mobile Advertising has still not begun to realize its huge potential. Slow growth of high speed networks and lack of an overall mobile internet audience have slowed the mass adoption by advertisers.
The recent introduction of flat-rate mobile plans and lower cost smart phones should help to expand the mobile phone user audience and increase mobile ad spending levels. According to eMarketer, worldwide mobile ad spending will grow from 2.7 billion in 2007 to over 19 billion in 2012. Text message (SMS) campaigns will likely account for the majority of the spend, with advertisers using the “walk before you run” approach before testing more complex campaigns with Mobile Search and Display formats.
Consumer costs continue to drop and mobile technology is improving, but there are still obstacles to overcome with mobile carrier constraints, user privacy, multiple ad formats, campaign tracking, and the unawareness of what the space can provide to an advertiser. 2008 probably wont be the year that Mobile Ads hit the mainstream, but its a good bet that Mobile Advertising will eventually rival Search Advertising.