Forrester Research believes that by 2016 advertisers will spend around $77 billion on interactive marketing, which would be as much as that spent on television today.

The firm further predicts that search marketing, display advertising, mobile marketing, email marketing, and social media will grow to 35% of all advertising as they are embedded in the marketing mix. The key factors that will enable this growth over the next few years, according to Forrester are:

Excitement about emerging media: Marketers now buy into mobile, social, or online video more than when the recession forced them to stick with standby interactive tools like email or search.

Interactive marketing effectiveness: Marketers will invest more in interactive channels and programs that show measurable returns simply due to the fact that anything digital can be measured easily.

Customer obsession: In this age of the customer, companies will invest into customized experiences across their customers’ preferred touch points, which will augment existing online media efforts and inspire development for new platforms like smartphones and tablets. Forrester projects that by 2015 smartphone adoption will grow 150% and 82 million consumers will own a tablet.

Bigger interactive teams: Marketers have more interactive staff than ever before that allows for program expansion but this doesn't necessarily mean more mature interactive programs or increased budgets.

Forrester’s prediction in 2009, that mobile marketing adoption would hit its stride mid-2011, turned out to be true. For this year, the research firm predicts spend on mobile paid advertising and search to surpass email as well as social and that it will rocket at a 38% CAGR to $8.2 billion by 2016. The reasons given are:

  • Marketers will create more relevant mobile ads: Today, marketers primarily re-purpose online ads into mobile search and display, but as mobile analytics firms like Bango mine more smartphone data, and mobile ad servers like Crisp Media mature, advertisers will spend to create user-centric mobile ads through better ad targeting and dynamic content. Just think about geo-targeting, behavior or intent data to fine-tune the targeting.
  • Tablets - along with their expensive ad units - will become mainstream: Forrester expects tablets to contribute to mobile marketing investment due to their rapid adoption, but also because of the innovative ad formats they enable. Livestand, for instance, Yahoo’s digital newsstand for tablets, allows advertisers to interact with users through rich, customized, immersive content experiences.
  • Buyers will embrace mobile commerce and the advertising that drives it: Advertisers, ravished by the mobile commerce outlook that is expected to top $31 billion in five years, will buy ads to promote more mobile transactions. Consequently, more m-commerce will induce more mobile ad investment. For example, Intercontinental Hotels is ramping up its location-based marketing since its room bookings from mobile devices increased 1,000% in the first five months of 2011. The coming explosion of tablet adoption will only amplify this virtuous cycle, considering that 47% of tablet owners have already shopped and bought on their devices.

In a nutshell: When mobile marketing becomes more influential it has a higher impact on marketing budgets and CMO agendas. Therefore, I am convinced that Forrester will be right again with its statement that the growing impact of mobile marketing will re-emphasize marketing’s four “P’s” and turn consumer electronics into audience-targeting tools, so we will see.

By Daniela La Marca