Any doubts that mobile advertising is big business should be crushed by the most recent research from Informa Telecoms & Media which found that mobile ad revenue will reach $3.5 billion worldwide this year.

What's more, by 2015, revenue will have increased eight-fold to around $24 billion, thanks in part to efforts from Apple and Google, namely, says Informa.

This current report is referring to the entire mobile ad industry, not just in-app advertising, it appears. In-app ads, however, are expected to reach $8 by 2015, according to Borrell Associates.

Revenues Climb

In Informa's latest report, the firm says that Apple's iAd platform launch has prompted rivals, including Google, to speed up their own strategies. Informa senior analyst Shailendra Pandey notes that Google's AdMob acquisition "is on track to generate $1 billion in revenues from mobile in 2010, a significant portion of which will be mobile advertising revenues." Also, Google has reported a 500% increase in mobile search queries between 2008 and 2010, the report's author notes.

Informa is forecasting that, over the next 12-18 months, the mobile advertising market will begin a sustained period of consolidation where bigger players will hunt for smaller companies that can be easily integrated into their platforms.

Pandey also says that the mobile advertising industry is no longer in its "experimental" phase, but is rather an active market seeing large investments in mobile campaigns on a regular basis. "The investments from big players such as Google and Apple validates the market opportunity,"  Pandey added. This has resulted in "brands and agencies more actively considering mobile for their campaigns," he concluded.

Recent Events in Mobile Ads

We've seen some notable moves in the mobile ad industry as of late, including the launch of RIM's own advertising service for Blackberry phones, which allows app developers to insert ads using only a few lines of code, and more recently, Google's launch of interactive video ads via AdMob. Yet unlike its competitor iAd, AdMob's video ad work on both iOS and Android devices.

The market is seeing smaller players still launching new services, too, like Pontiflex's service, unveiled on Monday, whose key selling points to developers is its speed and low cost. "Designed to overcome the limitations and high price tag associated with existing mobile advertising solutions, the Pontiflex AppLeads platform provides an open and customizable API for simple installation and quick integration,"the company wrote in its launch announcement. "Developers can monetize their apps in just minutes versus days or weeks experienced using other solutions, while leveraging Pontiflex's inventory of ads from Fortune 500 brands and national non-profits," it says. The service is still too new for us to comment on whether or not it can back up those claims at this time, however.

Note: AppLeads was tested a year prior to its launch. Here's a case study showcasing its success, provided by the company.