With 2012 rapidly winding to a close, the year that was is now being reduced to a “best of list” across myriad categories of news coverage. From the “best movies of 2012” by Entertainment Weekly to “The best candle scents of 2012” by International Fragrance (yes, that’s actually a publication), the year that’s at an end is now being summarized by its best highlights one industry at a time.
When it comes to mobile advertising, the industry saw exponential growth over 2011. With the number of mobile Internet users expected to outnumber PC users within three years, mobile advertising is on pace to reach $28.8 billion in 2016, says the IDC.
In the United States alone, mobile advertising spend is similarly on pace to hit $14.8 billion by 2016. That’s up from $2.1 billion last year.
One of the major causes for the mobile ad industry’s growth is the steady stream of new tools and resources delivered by today’s leading mobile ad networks that make it easier and more efficient than ever to monetize mobile apps and reach millions of consumers with a variety of cash-generating ads.
So what belongs on the “best of” list for mobile advertising in 2012?
“There was so much going on across the industry this year that it’s impossible to come up with a simple ‘ten-best-of’ type of list,” says independent mobile advertising consultant Derek Watts. “But there are some clear standouts.”
According to Watts, tablet computers made the biggest splash across the mobile landscape this year.
“In 2011,” Watts says, “68 percent of mobile advertising spending in the U.S. was for ads that appeared on mobile phones, and 23 percent on tablets. By the end of 2012, tablets are likely going to have achieved a 41 percent share of mobile advertising spend while just 46 percent went to smartphones.”
In terms of the biggest innovators in mobile advertising that are helping to make developers and mobile advertisers wealthier with each passing day, Watts points to one mobile ad network above all the rest.
“Airpush was the ad network that stole the show last year,” he says.
Mobile tech and business analyst Mike Randazzo agrees.
“Airpush developers, who have consistently seen the industry’s highest CPM’s, can’t get enough of Airpush and its ad formats which have delivered off the chart results when compared to anything else we’ve seen in this space,” Randazzo admits.
“It isn’t simply marketing fluff when Airpush says its ad formats outperform other formats on the market. They do,” he says. “The Airpush SDK delivers a plethora of sophisticated attributes that we haven’t seen in the past. We’re talking in app monitoring, crash analytics, terrific range of ad formats. A lot of really good stuff is going on there.”
Best of all, Randazzo adds, Airpush helped entourage the responsible expansion of the mobile ad industry.
“When you’re the second largest ad network for Android developers with a global network of over 50,000 apps and another 2,000 advertisers, it’s really easy to fall into that trap that other ad networks do and forget about other important aspects of the mobile ad landscape besides money,” Randazzo concludes. “Airpush really made mobile security a high priority this year and it’s helped to raise the bar for the entire industry in that regard.”
Randazzo is referencing Airpush’s recent partnership with Appthority, a growing name in mobile security. The partnership was forged to help quell the scourge of mobile malware – a threat that is most pronounced and prolific on the Android operating system.
With so many high points and industry leaders to point to in 2012, is it possible to see who will be the biggest winners in mobile advertising for 2013?
“The winners will be mobile consumers,” explains Watts. “Mobile ads are getting smarter, more relevant, and better targeted all the time. As ad targeting and mobile messaging become more finely tuned, you will see the mobile ad industry flourish in ways we can’t foresee today. And the ‘pesky’ ads you hear some complain about will become their best friends as real opportunities for savings and relevant products find their way to the small screen. 2012 was great for mobile advertising, but 2013 is going to be much, much greater.”