Mobile ads

Mobile adverts – the ability to put shorter or smaller image ads on phones and other mobile devices – will become of growing importance of mobile ads. It is the next great frontier in manifest destiny of marketers. There is gold - or at least untapped revenue - in them thar hills.

This is a growing but yet undeveloped area. It has recently been fuelled by two events early in 2010:

Google’s AdWords platform has a mobile platform embedded in it. However, as yet Google are at their infancy and the AdWords platform requires additional development and refinement for mobile phone use.

So now, there are three possible mobile platforms:

This raises two questions:

AdMob

AdMob is a Google acquisition designed to remedy that deficiency

Despite the tremendous growth in mobile usage and the substantial investment by many businesses in the space, the mobile web is still in its early stages, Susan Wojcicki, vice president of product management, and Vic Gundotra, vice president of Engineering at Google, wrote in a blog post:
"We believe that great mobile advertising products can encourage even more growth in the mobile ecosystem. That's what has us excited about this deal."

Wojcicki and Gundotra said the deal would produce better products and tools and more effective monetization for publishers of mobile Web sites and applications. It will also bring better, more relevant ads on a grander scale for advertisers focused on the mobile space, they said.

Consumers, meanwhile, will benefit from more "mobile ads that deliver useful information", they concluded.

California-based AdMob was founded in 2006 by Omar Hamoui.

"We are not going away", Hamoui wrote in a note on his Web site. "After our deal with Google closes, we will work together to accelerate the pace of innovation in this area".

AdMob's product and engineering, business development, and sales teams will remain intact, Hamoui said. "It's just that now we will be able to do an even better job for all of our customers".

Apple’s iAd

Apple's new mobile ad platform was unveiled to the ad execs on New York's Madison Avenue in April 2010. Although being described as "revolutionary" and "our next big thing" by Steve Jobs, it is essentially a paid search system for mobile platforms – mainly Apple at the moment.

This will change throughout 2010 and be established by 2011, but as ever, Apple is not responding to requests from press for further information, but the fact that Apple bought mobile advertising developer Quattro back in January for nearly $300 million surely means that the Cupertino computing giant has some plans in the mobile ad arena.

"The war has been mounting ever since Google introduced its Android mobile operating system to compete with Apple's iPhone, and agreed to acquire mobile ad firm AdMob for $750 million, but it is expected to reach ballistic proportions following Apple's April 7th announcement, which insiders say will be every bit as important as other recent marketplace introductions, including the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad launches," writes MediaPost's Joe Mandese.

"Apple appears to have been more successful in its revenue diversification, developing substantial software and service businesses, including iTunes downloads, iPhone wireless subscriptions, and App Store downloads. And while advertising has always loomed as a huge possibility for Apple, it had essentially been unexploited as a business model until Apple acquired Quattro."

Apple plans to make the first wave of iAds itself:

"In the beginning, all ads will be built (in HTML5) by the iAd team," blogs Hill Holliday's Ilya Vedrashko. "In the future, Apple will release an iAd SDK."

A software development kit (SDK) is typically a set of development tools that allows for the creation of applications for certain software. At the moment this does not exists. So only comparatively large budget/adspend users will be allowed on the iAd.

iAd will only work on iPhone and iPod touch initially, with iPad support following later.

Which is not a huge surprise, since iAd will launch in June (2010) as part of the iPhone OS 4 software, which won't be available for iPads until the fall/Autumn 2010.

Apple’s new rules brokering its ads inside iPhone and iPad apps is insisting that anyone who writes an iPhone and iPad apps may only share user-interaction data with Apple. This means that only Apple's iAds platform can know when users view and interact with embedded ads.

Google will be shut out from the scheme and other ad-broker systems apparently won't be able to see it either. This, so Apple thinks, will hurt Google's AdMob.