The research by Marketing Evolution, a marketing measurement and analytics firm, concluded that the optimized level of spend on mobile advertising for US marketers in 2012 should be 7%, on average, compared to the current budget allocation of less than 1%.
"Finally, we are able to give marketers a level of empirical data that takes out the guesswork," said Greg Stuart, CEO, MMA Global.
He added that the research "offers a baseline for further discussions on what a rebalanced marketing mix should look like to achieve a stronger ROI on every dollar they spend."
The precise level of spend will of course depend on the marketing goal and industry category. The study also indicated that mobile's share of the media mix will only increase in the future, to at least 10% by 2016 as more people use smartphones.
Rex Briggs, CEO of Marketing Evolution, said: "It's clear that marketers, on average, are spending significantly less than they should on mobile and are losing out on sales and profits by settling for a sub-optimal media mix."
The information was welcomed by B. Bonin Bough, vice president of Global Media and Consumer Engagement at Kraft Foods.
"We're committed to making a difference in mobile innovation," he said, "so I'm very pleased that the MMA is leading the industry with this valuable data."
The MMA estimates that mobile marketing in the US is currently worth $26bn.
Data sourcd from MMA; additional content by Warc staff