While global advertising declines, digital advertising – in particular mobile – is growing. Mobile ad spend will hit $100 billion for the first time this year, making it a larger category than print and radio put together. However, many brands still underinvest in mobile advertising.

Mobile is still a relative bargain from a media buying perspective, with a much lower CPM than desktop inventory, allowing for cost-effective experimentation. However, brands across sectors are underinvesting in mobile advertising. Most impressions continue to be served on desktops, according to L2’s Mobile report.

Mobile display ad impressions by vertical

Even when brands do buy ads on mobile, they don’t pay top dollar for them. Just a third of mobile ads during the study period were premium ad buys purchased directly, while more than half of all desktop and video ads were direct purchases.

Both Urban Decay and Calvin Klein recognize the need to spend on mobile: each deploys half of its ad creatives in mobile environments. Yet 41% of Urban Decay ad impressions are mobile, while mobile accounts for just 7% of Calvin Klein’s. This stems from the fact that Urban Decay has spent significantly on mobile advertising, while Calvin Klein devotes only a small fraction of its ad budget to these efforts, according to L2’s study – potentially missing the boat on this opportunity.


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