A long-awaited shift in advertising is emerging with search and display becoming the focus in mobile in 2015, according to eMarketer. In fact, this year, advertisers in the United States will be spending more in search and display—the two largest digital ad categories—so that consumers may be reached on their mobile devices, a shift away from desktop computers, the eMarketer report entitled, “The State of US Digital Advertising 2015: Mobile Trumps Desktop, People Trump Devices.”

According to the report, U.S. display and search spending breaks down by device in 2015 as follows:

U.S. Search Ad Spending: $25.66 Billion:

  • $12.85 billion: Mobile**
  • $12.82 billion: Desktop*

U.S. Display Ad Spending: $27.05 Billion:

  • $14.67 billion: Mobile**
  • $12.38 billion: Desktop*

* Includes spending, for the most part, on desktop-based advertisements.

** Includes ad spending on tablets.

eMarketer reports that advertisers in the U.S. will spend about $52.71 billion on search and display advertising this year, which is an increase of 16.6 percent over the prior year. So that advertisers are able to catch up with the boom in smartphone and tablet popularity, more than half of the spending—some 52.2 percent—is expected to be applied to mobile campaigns, wrote eMarketer.

While eMarketer notes that a lot of the focus is on the budgetary and strategic nuances of devices, it is the people on which marketers are focusing. Most specifically, advertisers are looking to reach consumers whenever they access the Internet. “The biggest change we’re seeing is the move towards people-centric marketing,” Chad Gallagher, global director of mobile for AOL, told eMarketer. “Both brand and performance advertisers are saying, ‘We don’t necessarily care about the device, we care about driving results against people.’ That’s a fundamental change.”

Forrester Research, in its report, “The State of Consumers and Technology Benchmark 2014 U.S.” shows usage, by age, for the average number of connected devices:

  • Gen Z (ages 18-24): 3.6
  • Millennials (ages 25-34): 4.0
  • Gen X (ages 35-44): 3.6
  • Young Baby Boomers (ages 45-54): 2.9
  • Older Baby Boomers (ages 55-64): 2.6
  • Seniors (ages 65 and older): 3.3
  • Total: 3.3

Marketers are also aware that the average consumer uses a variety of devices to access the internet; therefore, focusing on devices will not lead to the type of individual. Forrester’s research found that 3.3 million devices were used in 2014 by consumers in all demographic groups; Millennials used an average of four devices, according to eMarketer.

Marketers must think more holistically about the customer experience over a variety of devices and minimize attention on the device type, notes eMarketer. In fact, most—86 percent—of marketers globally, who were polled in November 2014 by Salesforce.com in November 2014, indicated that “delivering a cohesive customer journey across devices was very important or critical to the success of their business.” Econsultancy received similar responses in its survey in January 2015, wrote eMarketer. Most agree, energy should be focused on target audience identification and creating a meaningful brand message. “Marketers have all seen the graphs that show people are spending more and more time on mobile devices, and they know they need a strategy,” Adam Berke, president and CMO of AdRoll, told eMarketer.


Digital Advertisers Focus on Holistic Customer Experience: Mobile trumps desktop in ad spending. eMarketer, April 3, 2015.