U.S. Mobile Ad Sales Wallop Previous Forecasts

Spending on U.S. mobile advertising surged 89 percent in 2011 to $1.45 billion, estimates eMarketer, beating earlier projections by a longshot. An October report by eMarketer anticipated 65 percent growth for the year.

Spending is expected to grow 80 percent in 2012 to round $2.6 billion. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has the lion’s share of the mobile search ad market with 45 percent of spending, and is thought to have a prevailing 25 percent share of the U.S. mobile display ad market with 31 percent of spending. Millenial Media, which recently applied for an IPO, is thought to have 18 percent of the display ad space. Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iAd platform generated just over $90 million in revenues last year-translating to a 6.4% share of overall US mobile ad revenues

“Right now there are many researchers out there looking at nearly the same empirical data about the mobile marketplace and drawing completely disparate conclusions,” said Noah Elkin, eMarketer principal analyst. “In order to form the most complete picture possible about the mobile ad market, we think it’s essential to evaluate multiple information sources-rather than a single dataset-especially as the market remains immature,” added Elkin.