Internet Giants Stake Out Mobile Search As Next Battle Ground

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The search wars have gone mobile. Leading Internet portals such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask are getting into the mobile search game with a vengeance. The stakes are clear: whoever can organize and control mobile search will help define this most important new interactive device to the consumer, according to a new report from eMarketer.

The overall size of the US online advertising market coupled with a strong push by the main portal players (all of whom are US-based) promises to make the US mobile search market fiercely contested. eMarketer projects that by 2011, mobile search will account for around $715 million, or almost 15% of the total mobile advertising market of $4.7 billion.

While this is not an earth-shattering number, the fact is that mobile search promises to radically change how users access other, far larger content and commerce categories. But, until advertising across telecom carriers is made simpler, there will be little mobile search ad inventory. And without ad-cookie support or a mobile-specific means for targeting users across carriers, mobile search will be a stunted opportunity.

"The days when mobile search need only organize a mobile carrier's e-tail store are rapidly drawing to a close," says John du pre Gauntt, senior analyst and author of the report. "Too much money, talent and technology are moving into the mobile marketing space to expect that users, let alone advertisers, will stay content to search within the carrier's walled gardens that predominate today.""

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Revenues, 2006-2011

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Tags: walled garden  du  mobile advertising  mobile search 

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