Programmatic Lunch

Mobile ad revenues hit $83bn globally in 2016, says IAB report

Alex Spencer

Global mobile ad revenues hit $83bn ($64bn) in 2016, according to research from the IAB and IHS Markit – a year-on-year increase of 60.5 per cent.

Display consolidated its position as the dominant force in mobile advertising, with revenues jumping 64.3 per cent to reach $45bn. That’s 54 per cent of all mobile ad spend in 2016, compared to 52.8 per cent the year before.

Search took a not-too-distant second, with $36bn, up 61.1 per cent year-on-year. This means it took a 42.7 per cent share of the total spend, up by 0.1 percentage points.

The third leg of the tripod, messaging, is being increasingly squeezed out. Revenues from SMS and MMS did grow 11.2 per cent in 2016, reaching $2.6bn. Outpaced by the other channels, though, messaging saw its share dwindle – down from 4.5 per cent in 2015 to 3.1 per cent.

North America also extended its lead as the biggest region for mobile advertising, with revenues growing 73.1 per cent to $38bn – nearly half of the global total. Asia Pacific was second, at $27bn, and Europe third, at $16bn.


The various regions all showed very different breakdowns by channel (see graph above). Particularly notable is the absolute dominance of display in Asia Pacific, and the much higher prevalence of messaging in the two smallest regions, Latin America and Middle East & Africa.

This wasn’t the only regional difference. “The Western markets were driven by several key markets but dominated by global players, whereas in APAC local players accounted for most of the growth,” added IHS senior analyst Qingzhen Chen.

The IAB notes that this global research uses different methodology to its individual regional reports, and so figures may not line up exactly.

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The Early Bird deadline for submissions is 22 July. More details here.