After several false starts, mobile advertising has now truly taken off and is forecast to account for 37% of all growth in global ad expenditure this year, and 31% in 2014, according to a recent report by ZenithOptimedia.

Mobile advertising (defined in the report as internet ads delivered to smartphones and tablets, whatever their format) is still relatively small—with a total spend of $14.3 billion worldwide this year, or 2.8% of total ad expenditure.

However, it is growing extremely rapidly: 77% growth in 2013, followed by 56% in 2014 and 48% in 2015, ZenithOptimedia forecasts. By 2015, mobile ad spend is expected to total $33.1 billion and to account for 6% of total ad expenditure.

Below, additional key findings from the September 2013 Advertiser Expenditure Forecasts.

Internet Ad Growth Remains Strong

  • Desktop Internet advertising continues to grow more rapidly than any of the traditional media. The report forecasts 8% growth in desktop ad spend in 2013 and 2014, and 7% in 2015.
  • Total Internet advertising—both desktop and mobile—is expected to account for 20.4% of all ad expenditure in 2013, up from 18.3% in 2012, and it is forecast to rise to 24.6% in 2015.
  • Display is the fastest-growing sub-category, with 20% annual growth, thanks partly to the rapid rise of online video and social media advertising, which are growing at 25% and 33% a year, respectively.
  • Paid search is forecast to grow at an average rate of 15% a year to 2015, driven by continued innovation from search engines.
  • Online classified ad spend has been subdued, since it depends heavily on property and employment markets in the developed world. The report forecasts average annual growth of just 4% in the upcoming years.

Growth by Medium

  • Internet advertising is forecast to overtake newspapers for the first time, in 2013, and then exceed the combined total of newspaper and magazine advertising in 2015.
  • The Internet (desktop and mobile) is expected to be the biggest contributor by far of new ad dollars to the global market. Between 2012 and 2015, it is forecast to account for 66% of the growth in total expenditure.
  • The next biggest growth driver is television, which is forecast to contribute 36% of growth.

Global Ad Forecast

  • Overall, the global advertising market is on course to grow 3.5% in 2013, the same rate as last year.
  • Growth is forecast to pick up over the next two years—to 5.1% in 2014 and 5.9% in 2015—primarily due to the European economy, currently acting as a brake on global ad growth, becoming healthier.

About the research: Advertising expenditure projections are issued on a quarterly basis by ZenithOptimedia. The information in this article is based on projections issued in September 2013.

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Global Ad Trends: Mobile Takes Off, Internet Set to Surpass Print

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji