Digital ad spend in Latin America is set to double by 2016, with Brazil leading the way, according to new research.
The study, from eMarketer, indicates that less than half of Latin America’s population were online during 2012, but urban area’s are showing faster take-up.
The report indicates that fewer than half (42.6%) of the region’s residents, some 255 million people, will be online in 2012.
This proportion is rising by several percentage points each year, an encouraging trend when household broadband penetration will be only 30% in 2012.
Countries with more robust infrastructure—notably Argentina—will demonstrate levels of web usage well above the regional average.
With internet penetration so low, it is no surprise that online ads represent a mere fraction of all advertising expenditures.
Inevitably, though, that share is climbing. Online advertising will make up 10.4% of total ad spending in 2012, the report estimates, and will account for nearly 15% by 2016.
Mobile use in Latin America
Latin America boasts far more mobile phone users—nearly 390 million in 2012—than web users.
eMarketer estimates that fewer than two-thirds of the entire population will use a mobile this year, and less than one in four of those individuals will have a smartphone.
Across the region, the number of people using a mobile handset to go online in 2012 will reach 100 million.
Despite the slow advance of some technologies, internet users in Latin America have seized many digital opportunities with enthusiasm. For example, the region currently posts some of the world’s most impressive levels of social networking.
Data from comScore also points to extraordinarily high social networking engagement in early 2012.
Brazil is reckoned to have one of the highest proportions of internet users using social networks (74% in 2012) anywhere in the world, eMarketer estimates.
Overall, 68.9% of web users in the region will be regular visitors to social sites this year—well above the global average of 61.9%. The regional average will continue to exceed the worldwide average by more than five percentage points until 2014.