The Future of Search Series is supported by SES Chicago Conference and Expo, the leading search, social and display conference. From November 14-18, get five days of education, inspiration and conversations with marketing experts from the digital space. Register with MASH20 to save 20%.

Many recent years have been touted as “The Year of Mobile,” but 2011 might just live up to the hype. For the first time, consumers are spending more time on mobile apps than on the web, and mobile devices are edging out PCs and laptops in sales.

Yet mobile advertising is expected to hit just $1.1 billion in the U.S. this year, with mobile search accounting for $295.1 million, according to eMarketer. That compares to $31.3 billion on U.S. online spending and $14.4 billion for web search advertising.

Clearly, despite widespread use, marketers and the search giants haven’t yet cracked the code on mobile search advertising, which is shaping up to be a bit different than the traditional kind. Therein lies the opportunity — people who are grabbing their phones to search something are likely one step closer to buying a product or service than someone at home on their PC.