Mobile Will Capture 22% of Search Spending by 2012 -- and Google Gets Most of It

Search marketing firm Efficient Frontier released a mobile search report yesterday in conjunction with investment firm Macquarie Capital. The report presents a number of findings gleaned from actual campaigns and not simply survey data. However it does extrapolate and project what the US mobile search market is likely to be worth next year -- based on its clients' spending patterns and the rapidly increasing demand for mobile campaigns. 

Accordingly Efficient Frontier says it expects mobile paid search to be worth between 16% and 22% of the overall US search market by the end of next year (2012). I've done some quick math (in my related post on Search Engine Land) and determined, roughly speaking, this represents a range of $2.7 to $3.7 billion -- in the US alone. 

Efficient Frontier points out that Google captures slightly more than 96% of its clients' mobile search budgets. Google itself has said that it has a $2.5 billion run rate (including display) on a global basis. 

Efficient Frontier reported that mobile phone and tablet click-through rates for its advertisers are higher than for its desktop search campaigns, "at 166% and 137%, respectively, of CTRs in desktop search."

One of the surprises in the document was the percentage of clicks and and spending that were tied to tablets: 43% of the mobile search spend and 50% of the clicks.