In Mobile, Majority Of Ad Impressions And Clicks Come From Tablet Users

The iPad might only be 18 months old, but she and her Android siblings are getting users to pay attention and click. Tablets are also taking the lion's share of mobile advertising dollars.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that the iPad is a mere 18 months old. And it's even harder when you take a look at the ad spending habits of retailers. According to a new report from Efficient Frontier, tablets accounted for 77% of all retail mobile ad spend in September. The report, out Tuesday, also says that tablets account for 60% of all mobile ad impressions and clicks.

The profusion of smartphones and tablets means that more and more people are doing their computing on these devices, rather than on PCs, and advertisers are taking notice. Recently, eMarketer predicted that mobile ad spending would surpass $1 billion for the first time ever this year, reaching about $1.23 billion.

Mobile ad spending, eMarketer also forecast, will rise to $4.4 billion in 2014. That’s a significant jump over its previous estimates, from a year ago, that pinned the 2014 number--which includes search, display, and messaging-based advertising--at just $2.5 billion. In comparison, total mobile ad spend in 2010 was $743 million, the company says.

This summer, the head of Razorfish's mobile practice, Paul Gelb, noted the rate at which smartphone sales are now outpacing those of PCs and told AdWeek that it won’t be long before mobile ad spending overtakes TV ad spending.

That might seem like a stretch, considering that TV spending was $59 billion last year. Consider the rate at which advertisers are moving into mobile, though. This summer, comScore reported that the number of advertisers buying display ads on mobile devices had gone up 128% over two years ago.

Earlier this month, the IAB released its first Tablet Buyers' Guide for the U.S. mobile marketplace. "The role of tablets in consumers' lives continues to grow," Anna Bager, IAB's vice president and general manager of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, said at the time.

She noted, "Tablets combine the best of both worlds of interactive media devices--the large screen, hardware power and flexibility of PCs, and the intimacy, always-availability and simplicity of smartphones."

The explosion in tablet usage is forcing those in the ad tech world to keep up. Earlier this year, AdMob announced it was launching a new series of tablet-specific ad units after seeing a 300% jump in traffic to its network from tablets over just the previous six months. Yesterday, Facebook released its long awaited iPad app. Both the new ad formats, and Facebook's app, take advantage of the tablets' larger screens and interactive features like touching, tapping, and swiping.

[Image: Flick user Veronica Belmont]

E.B. Boyd is FastCompany.com's Silicon Valley reporter. Twitter | Google+ | Email

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