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.

Tameka Kee

Published 4 November, 2010 by Tameka Kee

Tameka Kee has been covering digital media with a focus on online advertising, social media and gaming since 2007. Find her at or follow her on Twitter

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Comments (3)


Pay Monthly Laptops

All very interesting but I remain to be convinced. I personally don't believe there is much value in mobile display or app advertising in particular, the screen size is just too small to be able to deliver meaningful advertising alongside content that will draw an audience. Search may well be another matter but I think the business model needs to be proved. Click to call may eventually really take off but the economics are not the same as 'normal' PPC, call centres cost a lot of money to maintain and I'm not yet convinced click to call will deliver high enough volumes, of high enough qualified users (mobile tends to be less purchase orientated than PC browsing) at costs that justify the call centre expense.

over 7 years ago


Tom Atkinson

I ran a big report on our Adwords MCC (Jan 1, 2010 - Oct 19, 2010). So far we served 79.6M impressions to any browser, which was 78M on PCs and 1.5M of those were to "Mobile devices with full browsers". Out of that 1.5M mobile impressions we got 45,000 clicks and amazingly 352 conversions on mobile devices. Not only that, but the cost/conversion was under half the CPA of our PC conversions (but only 0.6% of the booking volume: our money is largely still going to computer based search ads, but that could change). When looking at conversion rates, the PCs had 2.67% and mobiles had 1.14% (our industry is travel and tourism).

over 7 years ago



yes it obviously is...

over 7 years ago

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