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Mobile Monday: Google Pixel News Recap, Updated Forecast for Mobile Ad Spending

Posted Aug 9, 2020

The effects of COVID-19 on advertising have been heavily analyzed for the past few months and experts have had to update their forecasts on ad spends. Despite its continued growth, mobile has been feeling the effects of a decrease in overall digital advertising budgets. According to new data, mobile ad spend will be growing only 4.8% this year. Meanwhile, Google has announced three new versions of the Pixel while discontinuing some of its older models. Get all the details on these reports in this week’s Mobile Monday!

Google Announces Pixel 4A, 4A 5G, and 5; Discontinues Pixel 4 and 4XL

In case you missed it, Google officially announced three Pixel phones last week. In a blog post, the company stated that the new editions will feature “everything you love about Google” phones with sleek new hardware and more affordable prices. The Pixel 4A will cost $349, is available for preorder now, and is scheduled to ship on August 20th. The blog also gave a brief sneak peek at the new Pixel 4A 5G (starting at $499) and Pixel 5. Both phones will have 5G and will ship sometime this fall. It remains to be seen which carriers will partner with Google on these new phones. Currently, only Verizon will be selling the Pixel 4A, aside from Google’s own Fi network and the regional provider US Cellular.

Since the announcement, the Pixel product line has continued to make news. Google has quietly discontinued sales of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL just nine months since both phones’ release. While the shortened lifetime of the models seems odd, it could be a move to push sales for the newly announced editions. In just a few days, Pixel 4A has become the best-selling unlocked smartphone at both Amazon and Best Buy. While this is a positive sign for Google, its success is still to be determined since there’s no way of knowing how much inventory was available in the first place. Smartphone users looking to be more cost-efficient these days could be swayed by the product lines’ affordable prices.

Mobile Ad Spend Expected to Grow 4.8% in 2020

While mobile’s share of digital advertising has continued to increase, the pandemic has dramatically slowed down growth in spend. According to eMarketer, mobile will account for two-thirds of digital ad spend in the U.S. this year but cutbacks in digital advertising as a whole have brought mobile’s estimated growth down to 4.8%. This is a significant decline from last year’s 23% growth and the estimated growth of 20.7% that was predicted just a few months ago in March. Despite the slow down, mobile will still be expected to fare better than most other media. 

As mentioned earlier, mobile continues to increase its share of digital ad spending, reaching 68.0% in 2020, up from 65.9% in 2019. This share is slightly lower than eMarketer’s pre-pandemic forecast due to the relatively rapid growth of connected TV (CTV) viewership and advertising. Advertisers and agencies that spoke with eMarketer said March and April were tough months for both advertisers and publishers but CPMs and spends started to shift by the end of April. Although the increase was slight, spending began to return in May as advertisers began to pivot to growing platforms like mobile gaming.

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