ICrossing Starts Mobile Unit

NEW YORK Search agency iCrossing said it has begun a mobile advertising arm to capitalize on the emerging market for wireless search and lead generation.

Called mCrossing, the unit will focus on developing campaigns using Short Message Service that directs users to Web content or allows them to download coupons. New York-based iCrossing said it is also exploring location-based services and mobile commerce applications.

The new mobile offering comes in expectation of sharp growth for mobile marketing, which has remained a small market domestically. Research firm eMarketer predicts that spending on mobile marketing could triple from 2005 to 2009, reaching $760.4 million.

Other agencies are building up their own wireless capabilities. Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest has set up a wireless arm as well, SMG Digit, which has run mobile marketing campaigns for the likes of Allstate and Kellogg’s. Omnicom Group bought a San Francisco wireless agency, ipsh, last October.