Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Google Invests in Mobile Ads and VoIP and Says, “That’s Good for All of Us”

No doubt, mobile Internet usage is a fast growing market which has been boosted especially by the new generation of smart phones such as the iPhone or Google phone. Hand in hand with this trend goes the search for additional revenues through mobile advertising.
Despite or maybe because of Google’s corporate motto “Don’t be evil” the Google strategists know that attack is the best form of defence and therefore Google announced only yesterday that they bought a mobile display ad technology provider called AdMob, based in California, for $ 750 million. Being in a shopping and spending mood, Google further acquired the Voice over IP (VoIP) company Gizmo5 for a bargain of $ 30 million, probably in order to challenge Skype. Does Google know that the future is mobile?

Mobile phones have become an increasingly indispensable part of our daily lives. eMarketer predicts that by 2013 nearly 50% of American mobile phone users will access the mobile Internet at least monthly (see table below).

As a result of this, mobile applications for the travel and tourism industry are mushrooming. Mobile devices with integrated GPS support location based services and open new perspectives for the tourism industry to serve the customers better on the trip by adjusting and personalising the services to the specific location and situation of an individual traveler.
SMS-based context aware information push services have been used by many advertisers but have not really generated the big revenues for various reasons. Firstly, in most of the cases customers need to opt-in to subscribe to the SMS service and secondly text ads are not really that attractive for the tech-savvy generation N.

Google offers already many forms of mobile advertising, however its focus to date has been mainly on mobile search ads which can be seen as analogous to Google AdWords for search engine marketing. Google’s new strategic partner, AdMob, on the other hand focuses on mobile ads and in-application ads (see examples below, click to enlarge).

Mobile Internet consumers, used to a largely ad-supported Web content, will expect free content on their phones as well. Hence ad-based mobile applications can provide users with more free and low-cost mobile content and with contextual mobile ads that deliver useful information. Google claims that for advertisers the deal will bring better, more relevant location-based ads and greater reach especially in combination with Google’s existing search engine marketing tools. It is also likely that we will see more innovative and engaging ad formats developed especially for mobile applications. The benefit for publishers of websites and content (e.g. a DMO) may be that mobile advertising can mean a more effective monetization of their content.

Related article:
A New Travel Buddy Called iPhone

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