Following closely on the heels of the SIM-unlocked Android phone, Google today said it is letting AdWords advertisers show desktop text and image ads on Apple's iPhone, the T-Mobile G1 and other mobile devices with "full" Web browsers.
Google defines "full Web browsers" as those that can show standard HTML Web pages and support a user completing a purchase through the application. iPhone and Android's Webkit OS clearly apply. Advertisers will be able to display ads on these mobile devices, create campaigns for them and get separate performance reporting.
With this offering, Google has solved the challenge of putting search ads on cumbersome, smaller third screens, as these fill browser "ads can point to desktop landing pages so you don't need to create mobile landing pages or ads in mobile formats." Amanda Kelly, of Google's Inside AdWords, wrote:
"Showing ads on the G1 and iPhone also has additional advantages for your advertising. Users are performing a lot of searches on these devices, and searches are likely to go up during the holiday season. Last Christmas, the iPhone drove more traffic to Google.com worldwide than any other mobile platform."
OK, but what about after the holiday season? If you listen to current doom and gloom from financial analysts such as Citi's Mark Mahaney, or even from Google itself, search ads should see a slowdown during the recession, which will only deepen in 2009.
If people are searching less on their PCs, you can bet they won't be doing more from their iPhones or G1s, let alone buying these devices to do searches on.
I'm not normally bearish on Google ad news, but I have no confidence that this will reap good rewards in the near future even with, as Silicon Alley Insider's Peter Kafka notes, cheaper iPhones from Wal-Mart.
I think search advertising is heading for a fall like we've never seen before (finally), though what that will look like is unclear. We really haven't seen Google struggle, and it may in 2009. Either way, these mobile ads should pressure Microsoft and Yahoo to step up their mobile ad plans.
Anyway, to target ads for G1 and iPhone, AdWords soldiers can go to their campaign settings tab in your AdWords account and select "iPhones and other mobile devices with full internet browsers" in the "Device Platform" option under "Networks and Bidding."
She shows how to opt out of showing the ads on desktop and laptop computers, or just show the ads on the mobile gadgets and desktops.