Advertisers are expected to spend more on advertising in smartphone apps than on mobile websites this year, according to research.

The report claims that in the US and Western Europe, revenue from display ads on the mobile web ($934.5 million) has already been overtaken by in-app advertising ($1.7 billion).

In a chart, the Strategy Analytics researchers indicate that global advertiser spend in Applications and Games will hit $2.898 billion in 2012, while consumers will spend in the same category will hit $26.121 billion – that’s 18.9 per cent of global consumer spend, and 30.7 per cent more than consumers spent on apps in 2011, according to the research.

Strategy Analytics’ director of Wireless Media Strategies David MacQueen claims: "Advertisers chase eyeballs so the fact that brands spend more on in-app advertising than the mobile web is a clear sign that apps are what consumers are glued to for an increasing range of activities. In the eyes of many advertisers, web browsing on the smartphone is playing second fiddle to the app economy."

“Apps are now the second largest category for revenues – for both consumer and advertiser spend - and are becoming the key distribution mechanism for media on mobile phones,” claims the report. The largest category for consumer-spend is data plans and web browsing.