Google, Apple Gird for Mobile Display Ad Feast

Mobile display ad spend in the U.S. will almost quadruple to exceed $1.2 billion in 2015, opening the battle for ad dollars between Apple's iPhone and iPad and Google's Android smartphones and tablets.

Spending on mobile display ads in the United States is around $313 million today, but this will almost quadruple to exceed $1.2 billion in 2015, according to ABI Research.

That means there will be a lot of dollars to be earned advertising on Apple's iPhone and iPad and smartphones and tablets based on Google's Android platform.

ABI conducted a survey and found that 28 percent of the mobile subscribers surveyed accessed the mobile Internet every day. People are accessing information about news and sports, and are consuming a lot of YouTube video from their smartphones.

They are also texting and searching and accessing pretty much any application they do from their desktop. All of these provide great opportunities for mobile ad specialists who strive to fit alluring pitches on the so-called third screen.

"This is a huge increase over the number doing so just 14 months ago, and is a powerful driver for the mobile marketing and advertising market," said ABI analyst Neil Strother.

Moreover, the emergence of Apple's tablet computer as a major mobile computing device is creating more opportunities for mobile advertisers to get their wares out on a larger touch screen.

"Marketers have increasingly been shifting budgets into mobile campaigns," said Strother. "This became evident during our research interviews with advertising agency executives, technology vendors and mobile ad network operators, who said they have been seeing year-over-year increases of 25 percent to 30 percent in campaign spending."

To serve this market, Apple created its iAd advertising platform, which serves ads within applications for the iPhone and iPad. This platform launched July 1, charging advertisers premium prices to serve ads on the popular smartphone and tablet.

Google's AdMob assets represent Apple's chief rival in the mobile display ad camp. Apple had tried to buy AdMob before Google swooped in with a better deal.

Combined with its Google AdSense for mobile product on Android-based smartphones and tablet computers, the search engine company has strong alternatives to Apple iAd.

Indeed, despite language in its developer terms that seem to prohibit effective advertising on the iPhone by Google's AdMob or AdSense products, Apple appears to be allowing users of Google's ad platforms to serve ads on the popular smartphone.

That should promote some healthy competition. Apple sells the most popular smartphone in the United States; Google has the cachet of its decade-plus of advertising skills and a swiftly proliferating Android platform.

Collecting the crumbs from Google's and Apple's tables are several independent ad networks, including Millennial Media, Jumptap and Greystripe.