The Kelsey Group added its mobile forecast to the range of other forecasts out in the market. The problem with all of these is that, like local search forecasts, there are fundamental definitional issues about how the marketplace is framed and conceptualized. Kelsey says “U.S. mobile search advertising revenues to grow from $33.2 million in 2007 to $1.4 billion in 2012, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 112 percent.” eMarketer has lower numbers and Jupiter has higher numbers, among several others.
Google’s decision yesterday to push its AdWords advertisers out via mobile (absent an opt-out by marketers) has the potential to accelerate the market and ad dollars following into mobile. The advertising infrastructure to support mobile search is already present — as witnessed by the Google move, as one example. But questions remain over what sorts of ads mobile consumers will accept.
However, a more fundamental challenge is on the user side: driving adoption. As a general matter, where the usage is, the ad dollars will ultimately follow.
To that end, the frenzy over unlocking the iPhone reflects a popular desire (at least among influencers and gadgetheads) for more usable devices and mobile experiences. The impending Google mobile OS/GPhone hardware launch is another potential watershed moment (we’ll see) in the evolution toward better mobile user experiences.
We’ll be discussing many of these issues and mobile forecasts at SMX Local & Mobile in Denver in three weeks. I also discuss these forecasts and the market in some additional detail at Local Mobile Search.
And see our earlier Locals Only column on mobile search segmentation.