As viewing shifts to mobile, advertisers have failed to keep up.
Time spent on mobile devices is significantly outpacing spending on mobile advertising, and the resulting gap represents a major opportunity for internet giants like Facebook, a new analysis suggests.
While consumers now spend 25% of their media time on mobile devices, only 12% of advertising dollars are spent on mobile ads, according to analyst Mary Meeker’s new 2016 internet trends presentation. In the United States alone, advertisers would have to spend an additional $22 billion annually on mobile for spending to be proportionate to time spent.
Much of this spending will flow to videos consumed on social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, while spending on traditional media continues its slow decline, the presentation suggests. (While consumers spend 36% of their time watching television, advertisers spend a disproportionate 39% of their money there). The Atlantic has gone so far as to call mobile media “the new television.”
Facebook, in particular, looks set to benefit from this shift. The company has recently placed much greater emphasis on video. Facebook began testing Periscope-like live video streaming in December 2015, expanding the service to US iPhone users in January and hosting high-profile Q&As. A new “Continuous Live Video API” promises the potential to stream 24-hour live broadcasts.
At the time of writing, Mark Zuckerberg has just used Facebook Live to broadcast a feed of himself chatting with astronauts on the International Space Station, and UK Prime Minster David Cameron is preparing to take questions via the service. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video,” Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed News.
Video or not, Facebook is increasingly where Americans are getting their news: 44% of US adults get news through the service, according to a new study from Pew Research. Among social media platforms, YouTube is a distant second at 10%. Facebook’s increasing centrality to the news business also recently became clear when an article in Gizmodo alleged that Facebook editors who helped choose the site’s “trending” topics were biased against conservatives. Gizmodo called trending topics “some of the most powerful real estate on the internet.”
Globally, 54% of Facebook users, or more than 800 million people, access the site exclusively through a mobile device. As spending on mobile advertising catches up to consumers’ eyeballs, it will flow to Facebook in particular, and brands will increasingly tailor their advertising for viewing on the platform.