The Rise of Mobile Marketing in China


EMarketer has estimated that outlays on mobile ads will soar more than twofold in 2015 to reach $15.82 billion. Mobile will make up 22.3% of total media ad spending in China—a higher level than in any other market worldwide.

The sharp increase in mobile ads spending in China came with slow economic growth and an alarming slump on the stock market. Still, eMarketers predict total mobile ads spending in China will climb 58% this year, and annual growth will expand by at least 20% by 2019.

The increasing spending on mobile is partly attributed to the continued growth of consumer spending in China, which accounted for 60% of GDP growth in H1 2015. Besides, along with other institutions, e.g., Smaato, eMarketer’s projected programmatic ad spending in China is to reach US$27 billion by the end of 2017.

EMarketer’s estimated conditions are based on the analysis of all available data, including researches from third-party sources such as Analysys. For ad spending estimates, eMarketer gave more weight to reported financial results of publicly traded companies. For mobile ads spending in China, it relies heavily on the revenue data reported by major players such as Baidu and Alibaba. In that light, eMarketer's estimates might be seen as conservative.

Also, the monthly effective viewing duration of mobile apps has exceeded 30 billion hours, which is 3 times of that on PC, indicating that internet users now spend more time on mobile devices than on PCs.

The fast development of mobile advertising can be attributed to the following factors.

Firstly, the penetration rate of smart devices and easy access to Internet such as Wi-Fi and 4G together pushed the mobile advertising market forward and set foundation for the further development of mobile advertising.

Secondly, internet users had high loyalty for mobile and they were more used to mobile devices than PCs. Among all kinds of apps, video apps, social & instant messaging apps and news apps have become the most important ways for them to entertain, acquire information and communicate in daily life. Also, core media companies devoted much in mobile business, which enhanced the monetization of mobile advertising. Nowadays, more and more marketing companies shift their focus to mobile advertising, which turns out to be accelerating the development of small and medium size mobile media companies.

Finally, advertisers have realized the importance of mobile marketing and begin to invest more in mobile advertising

When looking into China’s mobile advertising market segments, mobile searching ads grabbed a market share of 40.5% in 2015, the biggest share in mobile advertising market. However, its share has been shrinking in recent two years. Meanwhile, mobile e-commerce ads and mobile portal and news website ads ranked the second and the third, capturing a share of 19.7% and 15.9% respectively in 2015. iResearch forecasted that mobile e-commerce ads and mobile video ads would expand in 2016 and took a larger share in the mobile advertising market. Moreover, shares of other mobile advertising forms will increase as well, and the mobile marketing structure will remain unchanged in the near future.

Furthermore, increasing evidence shows mobile advertisers are shifting their spending from mobile web to in-app ads. Global ad spending data from the Smaato platform supports the finding that apps are dominating mobile websites. APAC in-app spending has grown from 51% to 77% in just 12 months. The global spending on in-app ads also showed similar trends.

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