When I was in Nashville during a wedding last summer, a cousin wanted to take a trip downtown to the local American Apparel. But, she opined, she couldn\’t look up the address because the Wi-Fi in our hotel wasn\’t working. Not to worry, I said, and then showed her how to punch in a business name and send it to the short code \”466453,\” which spells out \”GOOGLE\” on phone keypads. Though adept at texting, my collegiate cousin had never heard of Google Search or any other search via SMS. And I have to admit, if I wasn\’t in the business of writing about technology, I might not have known about it either.

Luckily, mobile search is expected to come into its own this year – meaning that more consumers will know about it, and thus more marketers can leverage the technology. Savvy digital marketers already plan on it.

According to eMarketer, the number and types of searches on cell phones jumped during the second half of 2007. That caused eMarketer to raise its forecast for global mobile search revenue to $3.77 billion in 2012, up from $83.3 million in 2007.

In the United States, such revenue will grow to $1.48 billion in 2012 from $34.5 million in 2007. That\’s about 40 percent of all global sales! It\’s a surprising figure, considering that usage of mobile technology in the United States is behind much of the rest of the world.

\”The numbers coming from the U.S., Europe, and Asia-Pacific suggest that mobile search traffic is starting to resemble Internet search traffic both in variety and potentially in volume,\” said eMarketer senior analyst John du Pre Gauntt.

All this doesn\’t just mean that brands should take advantage of mobile search-specific marketing opportunities. Instead, they should realize that the rise of mobile search means that consumers will rely even more on their mobile devices to find information. And that means, more than ever, cell phones are the best places to reach consumers.

So a marketer should use other campaigns, such as permission-based SMS, as part of an all-encompassing mobile strategy. Indeed, targeted messages can help brands stand out among the paid non-targeted ads that consumers will receive as mobile search becomes increasingly more mainstream.

Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
\”I\’d rather you text me\”