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As we do every year across BIA/Kelsey’s coverage areas, our analysts put their heads together in cross-disciplinary fashion to handicap the 2012 local media space.

It’s a solid exercise and great preparation for our ILM West conference less than two weeks away. Many of these predictions will come out then, and extensive category-specific reports are in process.

For now, here’s an abridged sampling of my list of predictions from the mobile local media world.

The #s: U.S. mobile ad revenues will grow 50 percent over 2011, reaching $1.6 billion in 2012. The share attributed to location targeted ads will approach a majority. This will be driven by the growth of mobile local search, advertiser evolution and higher performance /premiums on location targeted ads.

The money: Leaders in mobile local user growth will start to monetize their mobile products. This includes Foursquare, Yelp and many YPs. Models will include campaign management, enhanced landing pages/optimization, pay per call, paid search and others. The wild card will be Facebook’s mobile monetization in the face of pressures as a public company.

Deals go mobile: Daily deal economics will fundamentally change as they migrate to mobile. Better targeting and personalization will replace deep discounts as the user hook and relevance driver. Greater margin share for merchants will in turn make them more attractive to different SMB segments.

Mobile commerce: Among many competing mobile payment standards, the ones that emerge will be most like what Foursquare did with AMEX tying deals to a credit card account. Deal redemption and tracking happens through good old credit card transaction, reducing friction for users and redemption challenges/tracking for merchants.

Next gen check-ins: Location check-ins will plateau in eligible adopters (urban foodies). To keep early adopters engaged and to expand to more of a mainstream market, check-ins will be more automatic and algorithmic. We’re seeing it already with Foursquare Radar, Shopkick and things like Placecast ShopAlerts.

My song, your song: The check-in of 2012 (popular feature everyone chases) will be social sharing. But instead of location and status updates, it will evolve to multimedia such as photos and songs. Apps such as Instagram and Soundtracking will reach tens of million of users and begin to monetize more directly.

Hello Hal: Voice search engines such as Siri will end up benefiting Google and others by boosting mobile search query volume (not a Google killer). Siri’s true value will reach the market when Apple expands it to more partners and/or integrates it with the iOS development kit for third-party developers to plug into their apps.

Next on the list:
–Google’s direction in mobile
–Outcomes of apps vs. mobile Web
–Fate of AT&T/TMobile
–Tablet market shakeout/winners
–Apple’s entrance to local and mapping
–Mobile ad evolution: “beyond the click”
–Fate of the “blue sky” tech: NFC, barcodes, augmented reality

Stay tuned for more at ILM West and beyond…

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