XAd, a mobile local ad network, released its Q1 2012 report today that shows growth in the local-mobile search category, particularly transportation-related search within the travel sector. We’re not surprised by the results, given our forecast of total U.S. mobile ad spend growth from $1.7 billion last year to $7.7 billion by 2016. This puts local-mobile at just under 50 percent of total ad spend. Growth factors include smartphone penetration and advertiser evolution. XAd saw smartphone penetration rise six points to 50 percent from Q4 2011. Here are some data points:
XAd experienced a network increase of 300 percent between Q1 last year and this year’s results. Most mobile users entered queries related to local needs, with restaurants and gas stations taking the top spots. The top 10 travel keywords also indicate an opportunity in mobile for travel marketers.