NEW YORK (AP) -- Research firm eMarketer expects spending on mobile advertisements to hit nearly $9.6 billion in the U.S. this year, up from $4.4 billion in 2012 and from less than $1.6 billion in 2011 as Facebook and Google barrel ahead.
Mobile ads now represent nearly 23 percent of the money companies spend on digital advertising, or ads people see on their computers, tablets and mobile phones. That's up from about 12 percent last year and less than 5 percent in 2011.
Facebook, which began showing mobile ads in 2012 and Google, which has by far the biggest share of the digital advertising market, account for much of this growth. EMarketer expects Facebook Inc. to surpass Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. when it comes to digital ad revenue this year, trailing only Google Inc. That's faster than it had predicted earlier.
Google is expected to take a 40 percent share of the digital ad market this year, compared with 7.4 percent for Facebook, 5.9 percent for Microsoft and 5.8 percent for Yahoo, according to eMarketer.
EMarketer estimates that overall digital ad spending in the U.S. will grow by nearly 16 percent this year, to $42.6 billion. Mobile advertisements will continue to eat up a larger share of the digital ad market until finally surpassing ad spending on computers in 2017, the research firm predicts.
Companies are spending more money on mobile advertisements because that's where their customers are spending their time. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 63 percent of adult mobile phone owners use their gadgets to go online, a figure that has doubled since 2009.