Google, Thank Apple for Buoying the Mobile Ad Market

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-11-12
 
 
 

It might be one of the most clichéd aphorisms running, but Apple has again proven to be the rising tide that lifts all boats.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on how the company's iAd in-application advertising platform for its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad is boosting advertiser interest in mobile phones and other gadgets with full Web browsers.

The hook of the piece is that while mobile ad providers were worried Apple would upset the delicate balance of an already competitive industry by landing big fish to spend $1 million on ad campaigns for Apple gadgets. That's a steep starting price.

Turns out those fears were unfounded. Sprout CEO Carnet Williams said Apple has "brought sexiness to mobile ads," and that his ad company has gotten four times as many calls from publishers and agencies since Apple launched iAds July 1.

Why is this? Alexandre Mars, head of mobile for Publicis Groupe SA, said Apple's cachet with big brands has helped legitimize the entire market."

Google isn't exactly slouching either, claiming that mobile advertising is adding $1 billion annually in revenue. Google has always been an ad power, but success in mobile ads is relatively new, begging the question: has Apple's presence helped Google, too?

Sure it has, but that can't be quantified, no more than Google's effect on Apple iAd and other providers in the market.

What also helped Google was buying AdMob before Apple could, and making sure that it is serving interactive ads on the iPhone and Android devices.

There's a key differentiator. Apple iAd just runs on the Apple gadgets, while Google AdMob and AdSense for Mobile live on Apple devices and Android handsets and tablets.

By sheer volume alone, Google should positively own the market in the coming year.

The iAd phenomenon is hardly a one-off. By dint of its luminous brand, Apple has become the de facto gateway between new technologies and consumers.

Tablets were initially conceived largely as clunky computers before the iPad came along in March.

Now Samsung, Lenovo, Dell and myriad others leveraging Android can't get the touch-screen machines to the market fast enough.

Apple is following several others in mobile ads just as every other computer maker is following Apple in tablets. Does it matter who is following who?

No, mobile ads and tablets are new enough fields that are primed for planting.

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