mobile apps The US mobile ad market will reach nearly $800 million in 2010. Nice,
but just a pittance compared to 2015, when mobile ad spending will
top $5 billion, according to data from mobile marketing research firm mobileSQUARED.

The
firm’s latest report analyzed the state of the US mobile ad market,
revealing that mobile search is the go-to marketing tactic as the
mobile ad network landscape continues to grow more tangled and complex.

The US is the world’s second-largest mobile ad market, with 300 million mobile users (only Japan is larger). Some 49 million of those users have engaged with some form of mobile advertising, the report found. And over a quarter of those users said they’d actually “clicked on an ad and then went on to purchase the item.” Promising indeed.

The MobileSQUARED/Smaato report was chock full of useful statistics, but here were two of the most interesting tidbits I found:

Apps are “hot,” but search gets the revenue

Mobile apps continue to be the media darlings, but advertisers aren’t so keen to advertise within them. The report found that apps attracted just 2% of mobile ad spend in the US. Search is the biggest draw, with 46%, followed by display with 29%.

Smaato mobile ad spending graph

Mobile ad networks are useful, but the landscape is confusing and complex

An influx of mobile ad networks have helped fuel the growth of the US mobile ad market – but with inventory available from upwards of 50 networks and 9,000 publishers, choosing the right mix of networks and ad networks has become a daunting task.

Per Nick Lane, chief analyst at mobileSQUARED, which conducted the research for Smaato: “Choosing the right ad network is a complicated decision, as publishers should consider fill rates, operating systems as well as response times of ad networks, to name a few criteria.”

This could be an opportunity for mobile ad network optimization firms to like Smaato to gain marketshare, much like the display ad optimization business sprang up over the past few years.