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Attention economy: Dispatches from the battle for the small screen

The shift from the economy of things to the attention economy is now almost complete. The buying and selling of things will continue, but will be subservient to the production of attention on an industrial scale and its buying and selling. The data economy is fast catching up as another key element of the picture.

Since most people are accessing the Internet through mobile devices and their small screens, as we have been saying for many years, this has become the most critical battleground.

For the last two years, Facebook has been growing like a beanstalk in mobile advertising, gaining ground against Google, its chief rival. Mobile was 59 percent of advertising revenue in the quarter, up from 30 percent a year ago.

Facebook accounted for 17.5 percent of the $18 billion spent on mobile ads worldwide last year, compared with a 49.3 percent share for Google, according to the research firm eMarketer.

This year, eMarketer predicts, advertisers will spend much more on mobile ads — nearly $32 billion globally — and Facebook will take 21.7 percent of the market. Google’s share is expected to drop to 47 percent.

The battle for the attention of smartphone users has prompted Facebook, Google and Twitter to develop new products to serve ads to mobile users inside a wide range of apps.

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