Kelsey Group: Free Mobile Directory Assistance to Grow

MediaPost has a report on a new study by the Kelsey Group called the U.S. Mobile Advertising Forecast. It breaks mobile search into three distinct revenue and usage streams:

– ad-supported directory assistance (free DA)
– mobile search and display ads
– ad-supported applications

The article gives one example of the latter: voice-powered, downloadable software that consumers use to access searchable content–essentially bringing off-deck content on-deck.

What does all this have to do with the mobile ad market? “According to the report, companies like Jingle Networks (purveyor of the 1-800-FREE-411 service) will fare well in the next five years, as the number of ad-supported directory assistance calls consumers make will top 2 billion (dwarfing this year’s 270 million).” Meanwhile, the “number of consumers paying for directory assistance calls will decline slightly, slipping from over 1.6 billion this year to over 1.4 billion in 2012.”

Therefore, the ability to target consumers “during the first minutes before they are slated to make a purchase” makes free Directory Assistance (DA) an attractive ad model–one that will comprise approximately 40% of mobile search ad revenue in the next five years, according to MediaPost.

“But the revenue stream is not lost on the carriers themselves, as AT&T launched a demo of its own ad-supported 1-800-YellowPages service late last year.”

Kelsey: Ad-Supported Directory Assistance Key To Future Mobile Search Boom [MediaPost]