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Mobile Search in the US

Still waiting for a market leader.

Competition for the US mobile search market promises to be fierce, thanks to the large US online ad market and strong pushes by portals.

eMarketer projects that by 2011, mobile search will account for around $715 million, or almost 15% of a total mobile advertising market worth nearly $4.7 billion.

Granted, a $715 million mobile search market is not a foregone conclusion, but many of the behavioral factors are in place in the US market to push mobile search forward. For one, there is already a strong correlation between mobile Internet use and accessing mobile search services.

In April 2007, iCrossing reported that three-quarters of mobile Internet subscribers access mobile search services. This is in contrast to the little more than 20% of general mobile phone users in the US who access mobile search.

The US mobile search market can be expected to suffer some growing pains over the next two to three years as the tug of war between the major operators, the major portal players, major media and a gaggle of mobile search start-ups compete for the title of mobile search leader.

eMarketer Senior Analyst John du Pre Gauntt said, "Mobile search in the US has all the right parts on the table: a huge online advertising ecosystem, the world's leading content industry, massive portal players, major league mobile operators and a host of VC-backed start-ups.

"In other words, it'll be a bloody mess over the next few years sorting out the center of gravity for mobile search, as each player tries to convince the others to follow its lead. The good news for marketers is that there's enough of a prize for the winner(s) that resolution will come."

Find out who's who in the mobile search food chain. Read the eMarketer Mobile Search: Clash of the Titans report.

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