Mobile ad spending in the UK is predicted to almost double this year, growing 96 percent to pass the £2 billion mark, according to eMarketer. By 2018 eMarketer expects mobile will constitute some 40 percent of total media ad spending in the UK and will be just shy of £7 billion.

Crucially, eMarketer also say this year will mark the year that the gap between print and mobile ad spending is closed, with just £38 million between the two predicted figures (£2.021 billion for mobile and £2.059 billion for print).

The report comes less than three months after we wrote about how mobile advertising spending in the UK doubled in 2013, breaking the £1 billion threshold, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Mobile ad spending is set to account for 13.4 percent of total media ad spending this year, and 27.9 percent of total digital ad spending. By 2018 those figures are predicted to be 39.1 and 70.4 percent, respectively, says the research company.

uk mobile ad advertising spend emarketer

uk mobile ad advertising spend percentage emarketer

The majority of mobile ad spending is still on search, but it’s a figure that’s dropping – from 69 percent to 57 percent from 2012 to 2013 – says the IAB.

Display spending on the other hand is on the up, from 29 percent in 2012 to 42 percent last year.

eMarketer says display revenues from Google, Facebook and Twitter are each expected to rise significantly in the coming years, and “a strong economy, high consumer confidence and increases in spending on digital, TV, radio, and outdoor formats will spur what growth there is in UK total media ad spending.”

The decline of print ad expenditures are expected to continue too, say eMarketer – “between 2014 and 2018, magazines and newspapers will lose a combined £276 million in advertiser spending.”

Publishers are already well aware of the importance of mobile, but the speed with which it continues to grow means working out how to make sure you are getting some of that money is becoming even more urgent.

Image via Phil Roeder used under a Creative Commons license.