Mobile Connections on the Rise; Good News for Mobile Advertising

3 minute read
Anthony Myers avatar

A study by the Pew Research Center has found nearly 50% of US adults own either a smartphone or tablet, and another study by researchers BIA/Kelsey tells us how much local advertisers are targeting them. 

Because many phones and tablets have location detection enabled, local advertisers will earn an estimated US $5.8 billion in revenue by 2016.

Tablets Driving Mobile Adoption

Since the iPad's release in 2010, numerous other manufacturers have entered the tablet market, and now 22% of US adults own one, according to the study from Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism in collaboration with The Economist Group. This is double the number of people who owned a tablet only last year. 

The bump in tablet owner numbers is attributed to the release of lower priced devices in late 2011. Fifty two percent of tablet owners have an iPad, a number that was 81% a year ago. That means devices like the Amazon Kindle Fire have quickly eroded the iPad's domination. 


Twenty three percent of those surveyed said they planned to buy a tablet in the next six months.

About half of tablet owners use an Android-based version, and about half of them own the Kindle Fire. We expect this trend to continue now that Google has released its Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets that are also cheaper than the iPad. Pew conducted the survey between late June and early August 2012 and surveyed 9,513 US based English speaking adults. A portion of them (1,928) recieved the full survey on news consumption habits.

Learning Opportunities

Local Ad Revenues Led by National Campaigns

In the BIA/Kelsey survey, the group found national ad campaigns were leading the charge on local advertising that takes advantage of location detection enabled devices. BIA/Kelsey has done surveys of SMBs and found they too are increasing their mobile targeted ads, though usually through a bundled service that includes other forms.


US mobile ad revenue is segmented by search, display, SMS and video formats tied to changing standards like apps vs mobile Web.

This increase in local targeting will acount for nearly 60% of all US mobile advertising by 2016. Researchers also pointed out that evolving mobile advertising options offered by Facebook will help drive demand due to its high profile. Specifically, Facebook options like sponsored stories and zip-code level targeting were highlighted as having a halo effect on local ads. 

Let us know in the comments if you have noticed more local ads popping up on your mobile that are targeted based on your physical location.