I was on a call with Mobclix in which, among other things, we discussed location targeting and other types of targeting on mobile devices. The fantasy of mobile marketing and advertising is "right ad, right time, right place," also known as 1:1 marketing. That phrase is repeated almost as often as the joke about the last ten years each being the "year of mobile."
What agencies and large advertisers want is reach. They want audiences and targeting but not at the expense of reach. In other words agencies and advertisers need big audiences that cross certain traffic thresholds before they'll pay attention.
But the 1:1 marketing fantasy flies right in the face of those requirements. Same goes for LBS marketing (which ofters targeting but at the expense of reach; if you slice audiences by location they get smaller and smaller). This is a contradiction that is surprisingly not discussed very much at industry events or in articles about mobile advertising and LBS.
The only way to reconcile the brand and agency desire for targeting and reach in mobile is to essentially do what Yahoo has done on the PC: create a dynamic ad serving platform into which the creative elements and offers are poured and which can then assemble those elements in real-time according to the targeting parameters, location and context of the end user. Google has also done a version of this online with its "local extensions" offering in AdWords. 1020 Placecast also does this to varying degrees in its campaigns.
The dynamic ad server in the middle is the key to realizing the targeting benefits of mobile and providing the scale that large advertisers need to take the medium seriously.
AdMob put out its monthly metrics report showing market share trends, among other things. Here are some of the highlights (verbatim) from August:
Business Insider's Dan Frommer savages the report as being a misrepresentation of the market. While I've always cautioned that AdMob's data reflect its own network, which may be iPhone heavy, I believe it's directionally consistent with the broader market. In addition, internal trends -- changes month over month -- are significant and interesting.
Apple has a disproportionate share of mobile Internet activity, especially given its relatively small handset market share. I was speaking with ad exchange Mobclix, which began life as an iPhone apps analytics platform, and the company said that 90% of the activity it sees is on the iPhone. This too is skewed by virtue of the company's legacy. But it cannot be denied that iPhone users are much more engaged than users of comparable smartphone devices.
This is true in my experience as well. Observing my own usage of the Palm Pre and my iPod Touch. I do email on the Pre and use my calendar (and Pandora). By contrast, my use of the mobile Internet is much greater and broader on the iPod Touch because of its superior user experience.
SMS Marketing firm HipCricket announced the launch of a hosted mobile coupon offering for retailers and fast-food restaurants, also known in the industry as "quick service restaurants." From the HipCricket release that went out earlier today:
This new enhanced HipCricket mobile coupon offering provides consumers with single use promotional codes that are fully trackable by any point of sale (POS) system that accepts VISA or MasterCard. It also features a specific solution for quick service restaurants, QSR Plus. QSR Plus adds creative and ongoing consulting to help businesses maintain and increase customer loyalty, establish one-to-one communication with their prospects and customers and, ultimately, increase average customer spend and frequency . . .
For consumers, the route to a mobile coupon is simple: a consumer sees a call to action and texts the “keyword” to a short code; the consumer receives a mobile voucher including an eight-digit unique code and a promotional message; the consumer takes voucher to store to receive discount/offer; the unique code is entered into the POS system via cash register or card reader; the validity of voucher is checked in real time with a coupon server; if the voucher is valid, it is redeemed; if not valid, a detailed message is returned for checkout management.
Coupons and deals are a very hot segment right now. And mobile offers is one of the areas that consumers are most receptive to in the abstract as well as in practice. Here are some recent data from AOL and Compete:
AOL/Universal McCann (of the 38% who responded to mobile ads on smartphones):
(n=1,800 smartphone owners who used the mobile Web at least once a week).
Compete (smartphone users):
(n=970 smartphone users)
Finally from a recent study about e-mail and SMS marketing, so-called millennials (18-25) were found to be highly willing to receive opt-in marketing messages in SMS. Here are the categories that millennials were interested in receiving offers from more than once a day:
At this point, there are tons of mobile ad forecasts in the market. Most of them are wrong. Why? Because they're too high level, have too few X variables or are insufficiently focused on the right assumptions and "levers." But it's also just difficult to predict the future and the rate of growth. Recall the early (and wildly inaccurate as it turned out) Forrester and Jupiter e-commerce numbers.
There are generally two objectives for forecasts: planning and PR. If one is using a forecast for internal planning purposes it needs to be as accurate (read: conservative) as possible. By contrast, if one is trying to raise money or gain exposure, one needs to make the biggest splash possible. Thus the forecasts that offer the greatest growth, the biggest "hockey stick," are the ones that show up in conference and investor presentations.
Often the firms that are putting out the forecasts are equally seeking publicity or to promote something. So there's an inherent bias toward inflation. If forecast B is smaller than forecast A it won't get coverage; so it must be larger or more sensational in some way. This is not true for all firms across the board. For example, I would also say, from having spoken to Noah Elkin at eMarketer before he put out their US mobile ad forecast, that he was trying very hard to be cautious and sensitive to all the issues.
But for all the love the media show them, mobile ad spending forecasts in the end just don't matter. They're just fodder for discussion and industry conferences. (I suppose they matter to investors in public companies who are speculating about the future.) But in my view they don't matter because consumers have already established mobile and the mobile Internet as an essential marketing medium. It's done. It's here. Stop telling the "every year is the year of mobile" joke. This IS the year of mobile -- for consumers at least.
Those marketers that embrace it in earnest will benefit, those that "wait and see" will lose out on first-mover advantages. No debate. The only questions now involve "how" and not "why." Those that continue to ask why don't get it.
All brands should have an iPhone app. Period. This is even more true for companies that run loyalty programs. They must also consider building apps for other smartphone platforms: Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Palm. (Nokia outside the US). All online publishers should have sites optimized for mobile. All marketers should be considering how they can integrate their traditional campaigns with mobile and should have an SMS strategy. SMS should not be neglected.
On the Internet many marketers still have not caught up to consumers. This is especially true in the local segment: marketers still don't "get" local and how consumers interact with the Internet. Consumers don't care about marketers, their sophistication (or lack thereof) or their strategies. Consumers care about finding deals, deciding where to go and what to do and communicating with others. Mobile is already becoming a more central part of those activities and will only continue to gain.
Regardless of whether growth in mobile ad spending is 15% per year or 51%, marketers and publishers need to get on board. The train is leaving the station.
Nokia seems like a confused company, confused about its identity and strategy. TechCrunch is reporting that travel-oriented social network Dopplr is being acquired by Nokia. Dopplr isn't widely used but apparently has a small, loyal following. TechCrunch says that the acquisition price is between €10 million and €15 million.
This is just the latest in a series of acquisitions for Nokia that include social networks, mapping sites and mobile ad networks. At a high level each of these can be justified but they also suggest to me a quality of drift or a potentially lack of a coherent strategy.
Separately there's a rumor being reported by Reuters that Nokia may be interested in buying Palm:
Palm Inc. shares jumped to their highest level in nearly two years on Tuesday, fueled by short covering and renewed speculation that the smartphone maker may be a takeover target.
Why would it buy Palm? For the handsets, for the WebOS? It has both sets of assets, although Symbian is lagging -- hence the introduction of Maemo. I'm reminded of Yahoo, which bought so many properties over the past three years only to shutter many of them. It's kind of like a corporate mid-life crisis.
The following are data and relevant excerpts from the August "SMART" report from Millennial Media. The data reflect activity on Millennial's network and are not necessarily the same as the mobile Internet:
Most advertisers are sending users to their sites (57%), followed by custom landing pages (35%) and finally expandable rich media (8%).
The report cites Nielsen to assert the US mobile Internet is now 63 million users. It also cites data from InsightExpress to show that mobile user satisfaction is actually higher in most cases than PC satisfaction for comparable activities: "On 4 out of 5 activities, Smartphones ranked anywhere from 4 percentage points to 9 percentage points higher than on a Computer."
Top phones on Millenial's network:
The report also features other interesting data about advertiser strategies and tactics.
I'll admit that I was an early Twitter critic and now I'm a convert. So I may be similarly wrong when I say the following about Foursquare: it's not a mainstream app or broad SMB ad platform because of its limited appeal to select groups of people (read: college students and twentysomethings with time on their hands).
Recently Foursquare launched Foursquare for business, which is effectively a mobile coupon or loyalty program. There are a range of businesses seeking to drive visits via Foursquare. Here's an example:
Foursquare can create a kind of loyal, cult following and potentially drive meaningful foot traffic for selected categories of businesses (restaurants/cafes, bars, clubs, youth oriented hotels). But the commitment required to play and the mild complexity of the game creates a barrier for older (read: busy) adults and most SMBs.
This is not to say that Foursquare can't achieve success but it won't have the broad appeal that a Twitter does today. The appeal of Twitter lies in its simplicity.
Last week Microsoft announced mobile behavioral targeting (BT). The company said that behavioral data come from:
With Microsoft Mobile Behavioral Targeting, data from these sources and others is factored together along with its relevancy to create hundreds of unique, specific segments. Within these niches are the consumers who are most likely to be receptive to your message. Your mobile ads are served only to users in youhttp://internet2go.net/node/add/storyr desired segments, enabling you to refine your reach and increase your campaign's performance. Simple yet powerful, Behavioral Targeting is one of the most effective and efficient forms of mobile advertising available today.
It appears to be a probablistic model that isn't about individual users but aggregated user behavior. Yahoo! also employs BT in mobile. To my knowledge Google has not yet, but it offers BT online in the form of "interest-based ads."
Behavioral targeting and other forms of online advertising are going to be regulated. The precise burden and disclosures remain to be seen, but there's almost no question that regulation is coming. The perception in Washington is that the big ad networks and sites are data mining at will without consent or the knowledge of consumers.
The Center for Digital Democracy (together with other consumer groups) brought a complaint in 2006 to the US FTC and amended that complaint in 2008 to extend to mobile marketing and advertising. The concerns and objections go to the heart of mobile ad targeting.
The paradox, which I've discussed many times, is that consumers don't want to be tracked but they only want relevant ads. If the major marketing companies are required to offer prominent disclosures and opt-out pages, many consumers will indeed opt-out of mobile advertising. The challenge is selling targeting to consumers as in their interest and how to make disclosures sufficiently prominent without making them a big roadblock.
There are some who've argued that all mobile advertising and marketing should be opt-in. Indeed, that works well for SMS campaigns and email. And search is an implicitly opt-in. But mobile display is where these privacy and disclosure issues will play out. As a practical matter it would be difficult to get consumers to opt-in to mobile display campaigns because there are so many sites and networks. One could imagine an industry supported "dashboard" where consumers managed privacy preferences and ad interests. But that seems almost impossible to pull off given the level of coordination it would require.
The FTC will try and balance interests to allow mobile advertising to grow but is going to require more from mobile publishers and ad networks than is now the case. It will be really interesting to see how this progresses at the level of user experience because of the complications and challenges in pulling it off.
Reported about a week ago Epsilon’s Global Consumer Email Study (n=4,084) found that so-called millennials (18-25) are highly willing to receive opt-in marketing messages in email and SMS. According to the press release:
Compared to other age groups, millennials are more likely to use tools such as instant messaging (IM), social networking and text/SMS messages as their primary tool for personal online communications. Over one-third (35%) cited instant messaging, whereas 26% of 26-35 year olds and 11% of 36-45 year olds selected IM.
Another notable difference amongst millennials reveals they were more receptive to both online and offline specials in permission-based emails . . .
Here are the categories of offers that millennials were interested in receiving offers from more than once a day (according to the survey):
Mobile-only categories of offers will be slightly different and include, for example, discounts on meals/entertainment.
Interestingly millennials want more frequent offers, which reinforces their loyalty. Other age groups in the survey were not as open to more than once a day offers. The survey also found millennials respond well to and expect personalization. However, Epsilon also found concern among them about spam, as one would expect.
Source: Epsilon (June, 2009)
SMS is arguably better suited than email or IM for the higher frequency offers (opt-in only) because of its on the go nature and the fact that people are always in possession of their mobile devices. However marketers must be even more diligent about relevance and spam prevention in SMS marketing and on mobile devices generally.
Nokia's Navteq is getting (really) serious about mobile advertising. The company has announced the acquition of mobile marketing firm Acuity Mobile. The two firms have been working together since March, 2007, when Acuity's technology was selected to deliver LBS ads via Traffic.com (a Navteq subsidiary). According to the Navteq press release issued this morning:
The acquisition of Acuity Mobile, a US-based company with approximately 18 employees prior to close, underscores NAVTEQ's commitment to and investment in location-based advertising technology and solutions. Earlier this year, NAVTEQ launched NAVTEQ LocationPoint(TM) Advertising which enables advertisers to reach and engage consumers where and when they are making shopping and purchasing decisions. NAVTEQ has been leveraging Acuity Mobile technologies to meet the increasing demand for location-aware advertising services as the volume of location-aware devices and applications has grown . . .
NAVTEQ LocationPoint enables clients to target consumers with geographic precision. In turn, consumers will have advertising move with them, as their mobile mapping applications present ads, offers, coupons, or other promotions, based on their preferences. Advertising capabilities include audio, rich graphics, or calls to action such as routing to the closest advertiser storefront.
Acuity delivers LBS ads but with other targeting layers as well, including time, context and user preference. The acquisition helps stabilize a broader range of mobile advertising capabilities for Navteq, which has seen the PND market (one of its primiary outlets) look less and less viable with the rise of smartphones.
I'm wondering aloud whether Acuity will remain within Navteq or integrated more broadly into Nokia Interactive Advertising. I would also look for more Nokia mobile ad platform/network acquisitions in the near term.
As I said yesterday, reconciling all the conflicting survey and behavioral data on consumers' attitudes toward mobile advertising is difficult. Generally speaking consumers will say they don't like ads on mobile devices, but respond to advertising and offers when they receive them. I said also that more sophisticated (read: smartphone) users are more welcoming of (or less bothered by) mobile ads, especially when the benefits are clear. And the most sophisticated group of mobile Web users is iPhone owners.
Now comes research from Chitika, an online (not mobile) advertising network, which argues based on behavioral data that iPhone owners are the least responsive (as measured by CTR) to ads and that mobile is not the great boon to marketers it's cracked up to be:
Here's what Chitika says about the chart on the right:
Of the 92 million impressions cited in the study, approximately 1.3 million (1.5%) came from mobile browsing. While non-mobile held steady with a 0.83% clickthrough rate, mobile as a whole pulled a mere 0.48%
The presentation of this data and subtleties of the language used (i.e., "mere") suggest bias to me. Every single source I've encountered shows the opposite of this chart: users respond to mobile marketing and advertising campaigns at rates that are higher than online. There must be an "apples to oranges" comparison going on. Although it's not entirely clear from the way the data are presented, the "non-mobile" CTRs appear to be ads responsive to search queries. The "mobile" CTR data I'm going to guess is based on response to display advertising.
Search CTRs in general are always substantially higher than display CTRs because of the nature of "push vs. pull" models.
According to Google's DoubleClick the average CTR for online display advertising in 2008 was 0.10%. Thus, the "apples to apples" comparison is probably mobile CTR of .48% vs. online display CTR of 0.10%. CTRs on mobile search ads should also be somewhat better than online because of the "need it now" phenomenon. Here's what SEM agency Performics said about a recent PC vs. mobile search test:
Performics recently ran a limited test of the smart device targeting capability to promote an iPhone app. We created mirrored campaigns in Google - one targeting laptops/PCs and the other targeting mobile smart devices. After a week, 8% of impressions but 11% of clicks came through the smart device campaign. Mobile searchers had a higher CTR because the ads targeted them better.
Accordingly I believe that Chitika, an online-only ad network, took online search ad CTR rates and compared them to mobile display ad CTRs. Furthermore it should be said that the "click" is not the right metric for mobile (display) advertising. It is, however, becoming the default metric that media planners and pundits are using to talk about mobile performance but it's myopic and doesn't truly reflect impact and value in the context of non-search adverting. (See the OPA study re "latent" effects of online display campaigns.)
One final bit of data on smartphone handset market share in terms of mobile Internet usage from the Chitika study:
Compare AdMob July data for the US market:
The data in the market generally reflect some contradictory things regarding consumer attitudes toward mobile advertising. Majorities of survey respondents (from our surveys and third party data) say they don't want to see ads on their handsets. However, their behavior very often reflects something else: they want offers and will respond to them.
A recent AOL-UniversalMcCann study (n=1800) showed that 38% of US smartphone users took some sort of action in response to mobile marketing/advertising.
If the data are segmented by handset and demographics what you find is that more sophisticated users on smartphones are the most interested and the least offended by mobile advertising vs. the general market. Here's recent general mobile user survey data from our April survey:
Now see Compete/TNS data released yesterday:
We have some earlier, very similar findings. When presented with concrete information and offers, consumers are interested -- especially when it means saving money. These are smartphone users who are much less hostile to mobile ads. The 77% figure in the chart at the top goes down to 53% when smartphone owners are segmented out. In other words the number of those using smartphones who don't want ads is 53% vs. 85% for non-smartphone owners.
Finally, InsightExpress released some data that also reflected that the "absence of advertising" was an issue of diminishing importance:
Source: InsightExpress Digital Consumer Portrait (7/09, n=1,210)
Mobile advertising works at levels that far outstrip conventional PC advertising. But many consumers are still ambivalent about it because they fear spam, tracking, incurring costs, etc. There's no easy way to explain the discrepancies in the data and in the contast between consumer attitudes toward mobile ads and actual behavior.
Google experimented with pay per call and click to call functionality in AdWords several years ago on the PC and then killed it. Now it appears that Google is returning to PPCall as a mobile ad format. Yesterday the search engine held a conference call/webinar with financial analysts to talk about the outlook for its business. Here's what was said by two analysts on the call about new ad formats that Google is introducing both online and in mobile:
From JP Morgan's Imran Khan (via Business Insider):
Google plans to introduce new ad formats. Google hasn’t made many changes to its text ad format and now sees this as a big opportunity. For example, advertisements for movies may be best in the form of trailers, and product advertisements may be best in the form of pictures and descriptions. The team is currently working on ad formats better suited to mobile, video, picture, maps and local searches.
From Citi's Mark Mahaney:
In an effort to bring more relevant ads to users, Google recently launched four new ad formats and expects to expand these over time: A) Video Ads – Users can play a video ad within the sponsored links section. This would be ideal for movie trailers, video games or companies selling complex products; B) Site Ads – An ad would contain sublinks to more specific products that take users directly to those products on the site; C) Product Ads – Ads that show pictures, prices and description of products; D) Local – Google shows address, directions and in some cases logos of local establishments; and E) Mobile – Google added click- to-call which is a new mobile monetization ad format. (emphasis added.)
PPCall is a natural ad format for mobile for self-evident reasons. The question in my mind is how Google will manage bidding and analytics vs. the rest of AdWords.
Update: Here's Google's official statement after I asked for clarification:
We're indeed working on expanding our click-to-call ads to appear next to high-end mobile search results. The first tests of the ad will likely give users a choice of a Web URL *and* a click-to-call option within the ad. We will then evaluate the results and look into a click-to-call-only ad for high-end mobile.
Loopt was heralded last week as the first iPhone app to run "in the background" so that it can continuously update a user's location. As a technical and "policy" milestone I agree it's noteworthy.
But I immediately found myself asking the question "so what?" Loopt, arguably the most visible of the mobile-only social networks, with distribution across most of the carriers and smartphone platforms, is probably already an "also-ran." While the site claims "millions of users," Facebook has 65 million mobile users (globally). Twitter is also more established as an updates tool (though not for all groups equally) and if I'm looking for local business or entertainment information there are myriad mobile sources (Loopt uses Yelp reviews).
The thing that may keep Loopt afloat (unless or until there's an acquisition) is the fact that it has a subscription model ($3.99 per month). A smaller number of paying users will support the service vs. advertising only, which would require massive usage to generate meaningful revenues for the company.
Some have argued that Loopt has turned into a dating service. The central feature of Loopt, continuous location awareness, is also something that consumers are highy ambivalent about, although in practice they want relevant ads and offers:
Source: Opus Research, 4/09 (n=707)
Facebook's new mobile iPhone app is a considerable upgrade over its previous one. I won't do a review of the app, but it offers much more utility than before (including chat, notes, photo uploads, etc). We'll continue to see new features and various enhancements in future versions too (next up is probably video uploads). There's also been some speculation that it could become a mobile apps platform within an app (others are pursuing this approach). While all but a relatively small number of highly successful Facebook apps basically languish online, mobile offers an opportunity to reinvigorate the strategy.
There's also Facebook's payments strategy, which could expand to mobile (it's already got a relationship with Zong using mobile phones to pay for virtual goods online [watch for a potential acquisition of Zong by FB]). Then there's the recently announced expansion of Connect from the iPhone to the broader mobile Internet.
Facebook also just announced a relationship with Nokia integrating Facebook (via "Lifecasting with Ovi") into the N97 and new Nokia N97 Mini phones. Here's a promotional video showing how it works:
The company also said in August that it has 65 million users globally who access the site from mobile devices. That's reportedly more than triple what it was in December, 2008.
Clearly mobile is a very key part of Facebook's strategy now and could make it a dominant globaly player in mobile across a number of fronts, including, potentially advertising. It's probably only a matter of time before Facebook becomes an ad network. Indeed, if I were Facebook I would take a look at buying one of the leading mobile ad networks top accelerate that development.
The mobile ad networks have gotten together and carved out a day to woo brands during Advertising Week in New York later in September. Dubbed the Mobile Advertising Summit, the event is sponsored by four mobile ad networks:
The agenda is full of agencies, with some big names from traditional ad agencies, including:
among others . . .
When I discovered AdMob had bought mobile ad "mediator" AdWhirl I fired off some questions to Jason Spero, VP & GM, North America at AdMob. He got back to me late Friday and here's a short Q&A about the acquisition via email.
Q: Why did AdMob decide to buy AdWhirl?
A: The acquisition of AdWhirl will enable AdMob to help drive more transparency in the marketplace. Our biggest priority is to help the mobile app ecosystem thrive, and in turn to maximize long-term revenue opportunities for developers. Providing choice and control for developers on where and how ads run furthers that goal.
Q: What technology or capability does it offer to AdMob that you didn't have?
A: Acquiring AdWhirl was a speed-to-market decision. We could’ve built a mediation solution ourselves, but buying AdWhirl allows us to put an open, transparent, unbiased product into the market in the coming weeks.
Q: Will AdWhirl remain an aggregator going forward? If not, what will change?
A: AdMob will incorporate AdWhirl’s existing publisher tools and introduce a new and enhanced open source mediation solution within the coming weeks. New levels of openness and transparency will be the key changes. In the meantime, developers can continue to use the AdWhirl mediation solution as they always have.
Q: Is this the beginning of an AdMob "exchange"?
A: Yes. We understand how important mediation is as a tool for application developers, and we’re committed to providing developers flexibility to allocate their inventory and maximize monetization. We want developers to have access to something that hasn’t existed in the market to date: Mediation tools that are open, unbiased and transparent.
Yesterday the news came out that ad network AdMob had acquired the assets of "mediation layer"/aggregator AdWhirl. This likely sets the stage for an exchange play (in earnest) by AdMob, analogous to what Yahoo has with RightMedia on the PC.
AdWhirl enabled iPhone developers to sign up for ad units/inventory from a wide range of ad networks, to improve fill rates -- it was promising 100% -- and optimize CPM/CPC revenue in addition. At one point AdMob had said it was no longer going to work with AdWhirl but later decided not to go through with that move. Now the former has bought AdWhirl.
Deal terms where not disclosed. AdWhirl had reported $1 million in funding and so I'm guessing that the purchase price was south of $10 million (perhaps several million shy). Reportedly AdWhirl will now expand to encompass other apps platforms, including Android, BlackBerry and so on.
In expressing its objections to AdWhirl's methodology at the time, AdMob VP Ali Diab said in a blog post:
What we have also found over the last few months is that mediation layers significantly impair AdMob’s ability to optimize the selection of ads for the apps that choose to use them, by obstructing our view of these applications’ traffic profiles. These traffic profiles are a key input parameter that we use at AdMob to select the right ad for the right app at the right time. By working directly with the publisher, AdMob is able to generate a much more accurate profile of the traffic, in terms of both volume and timing, generated by a specific iPhone app, which will enable us to optimize the revenue potential that we can deliver for the app.
Now AdMob has embraced the "mediation" concept, perhaps shrewdly so. AdWhirl can now be the basis of a broader marketplace or exchange that will reach multiple smartphone platforms. AdMob thus gets a kind of "hedge" if the mobile ad market should start to heavily favor exchanges vs. networks. Other networks, such as Quattro, have been experimenting with delivering third party ads along with their own to publishers.
AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui provided the following statement to TechCrunch:
Our open source solution will be both for the client and the server. We anticipate there will be many independent servers run by developers, and possibly our competitors as well. Once we release the code into the community, we think it will be adopted widely.
Most developers use mediation layers for percentage based inventory allocation. This is not something that you can game or manipulate. The mediation component either fulfills the percentage allocation or not. We are committed to making this solution as open as it needs to be to make everybody comfortable. We also expect the market will hold us accountable to this course of action.
The AdWhirl team has visited our offices over the past several days as we have worked through this deal. However any claims that we have historically been sharing data with AdWhirl or manipulating how it works for our benefit is completely false.
Since the news broke we’ve been talking to developers and they agree that the key is an open and transparent solution. We expect to be held to that.
The article in which that quote appeared asked the question whether AdMob would maintain AdWhirl as a "neutral" exchange or whether it was going to favor its own advertising. Commenting on the deal, along those lines, Greystripe CEO Michael Chang said the following about a potential "conflict of interest" for AdMob:
“We believe that it is a conflict of interest for an ad network to own a mediation company. A mediation company needs to be a separate entity to do its job of unbiased optimizing of a number of ad networks.”
If AdWhirl does remain neutral and open as AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui promises it should continue to thrive. If it becomes biased toward AdMob's own inventory or in some other way, new "meditors" will rise up to replace it.
That number, $2.4 billion, represents AdMob's estimate of how much users are roughly spending on an annualized basis on paid apps from the iTunes store. These figures are part of AdMob's July, 2009 mobile metrics report. Much of the report is in turn based on a mobile survey of 1,000 users (see additional data). Some of the top-level findings are as follows (emphasis added):
Based on these figures AdMob extrapolates and estimates the value of the iPhone apps market and that of the Android Market for paid apps:
Here are some of the charts accompanying the report:
And among smartphones on its network, AdMob reports the following mobile Web activity (US):
Compare with last month's data:
Compare July global share:
Related: Earlier this month we reported on earlier data from AdMob on app downloads and user behavior.
Update: Developers question the figures/math here.
Millennial Media has released its July "Scorecard for Mobile Advertising Reach and Targeting." The company cites Nielsen estimates that the US mobile Internet now has 61.1 million users (this is probably still a bit low). On the basis of that figure, Millennial claims 75% reach on the mobile Internet.
Here are selected bits of data from the report:
Here are several charts from the report:
Compare the top pie chart above with the market share of the top four US carriers and MetroPCS, according to self-reported (Q2) subscriber figures:
One must look at all the reports (AdMob, Opera, Millennial and so on) because each presents a slightly different picture of the mobile Internet, device penetration and user behavior.