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Mobile search spend to hit $17B by 2018: study

Although mobile Web will continue to dominate search budgets in the next four years, there will also be a shift towards more in-application spend, according to a new study from Juniper Research.

Juniper?s new ?Mobile Search & Discovery: Market Prospects 2014-2018? report looks at how mobile search will grow primarily through location-based apps and hyperlocal targeting in the next four years. With more time-sensitive searches taking place on smartphones and tablets, mobile is increasingly becoming the platform that marketers are investing more in versus desktop with specific, targeted keywords.   

?The simple answer here is device growth ? more smartphones and more consumer tablets means more browsing for online inventory,? said Dr. Windsor Holden, principal analyst at Juniper Research, Hampshire, England. 

?Second, that inventory is growing exponentially," he said. "Brands and retailers have by and large realized that mobile is a critical channel for engagement and purchase and are increasingly ensuring that their sites are optimized for mobile access. It?s also worth pointing out that another key driver is contextual search ? we?re seeing far more activity in location-based search queries.?

Mobile-driven search
The expected $16.8 billion mobile search industry in 2018 represents a jump from $6.4 billion in 2013.

When it comes to tactics that marketers use, mobile Web will continue to dominate the majority of mobile search spend, demonstrating the power that Google will continue to show in the years ahead.

However, there will also be a shift to more in-application spend, and Juniper predicts that local search apps will become the area with the fastest growth over the next four years.

Additionally, manufacturers and hardware makers will enhance their mobile search offerings by 2018 with built-in personal assistants, such as Apple?s Siri.

For certain industries, such as real estate and automotive, the shift to mobile search is more pronounced than others.

For example, Chevrolet was recently named the top automotive brand in mobile search and No. 2 on desktop by Adgooroo because of the brand?s ability to tailor keywords for each platform (see story). 

Additionally, a study from The Search Agency last year found that 52 percent of real estate search impressions originate from mobile (see story). 

Mobile spend by country
Juniper?s study also looks at which markets will spend the most in terms of mobile search.

The Far East and China will bring in the majority of mobile search spend by 2018. In 2013, North America represented the area with the largest amount of mobile spend in 2013, indicating that the growth in mobile search advertising will grow globally in the next few years. 

Juniper expects that North America will be the No. 2 area in terms of mobile search spend by 2018, followed by western Europe.

Other key areas include the rest of the Asia Pacific region and India.

?Marketers that haven?t already anticipated and planned for this are well behind the curve,? Dr. Holden said. ?Smartphones and tablets are accounting for an ever-increasing share of online search, and it?s imperative that brands ensure that when mobile surfers are searching for them, they are given the opportunity of enjoying a rich experience of their site on the mobile device.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York