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Today we’re launching a new formal practice area that will focus on the rapidly evolving mobile media space. As is core to The Kelsey Group’s DNA, the main angle here will be local: how the growth of the mobile Web will specifically hold opportunities for locally targeted content and ad delivery.

Mobile Local Media will launch to subscribers with a handful of reports and a brand-new forecast, which plots out mobile ad revenues for the next five years. It is broken down by display, search and SMS — the shares of which will shift considerably over the forecast period, as devices that can render full HTML pages penetrate further into the mobile mainstream.

This penetration is already fast under way, and the mobile Web is currently 54 million strong in the U.S. (about 25 percent of mobile users). IPhone and smartphone penetration has proved to map to greater data consumption, indicating further and steep mobile Web growth.

As this happens, local will be the big winner. The location awareness and portability of the mobile device is very conducive to local search. Local intent will be much greater on the mobile device than it is in online search (about 20 percent of search volume), and will fetch higher premiums due to the relevance and higher CTRs resulting from precise location targeting.

Indeed, local search is the fastest growing portion of our mobile ad revenues forecast, with a compound annual growth rate of 130.5 percent. This compares with overall mobile search ad revenue growth of 125.6 percent and overall mobile ad revenue growth (including SMS and display) of 81.2 percent.

More data from the forecast will be released over time, and more can be found in the press release that goes out today. We look forward to engaging this new formal coverage area and to hearing from you about what data and analysis you’re most interested in.

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