Last quarter I wrote two articles on mobile marketing and its implications to digital signage (Mobile Marketing and Its Impact on Digital Signage and Mobile Marketing and Digital Signage) . In those articles, I discussed Google’s purchase of mobile ad aggregator, AdMob, and Apple’s purchase of mobile ad aggregator Quattro Wireless. It was my position that these purchases could radically change the face of mobile advertising and ultimately siphon away ad dollars from digital signage unless the industry was prepared to combat the treat.
Last month I blogged about Apple’s announcement of its iAd service, which represents the integration and packaging of its Quattro Wireless purchase. In that blog post, I said that iAd represented an entirely new approach to mobile advertising and that it would set the standard to which others would aspire. Earlier this month I wrote about the $1 million fees that Apple was charging to advertise on iAd.
Well, this past week we got some insight into Google’s response to Apple’s iAd service. At its annual developer conference, Google I/O 2010, Google unveiled its new AdSense for Mobile Apps offering. The AdSense offering possesses many of the features of the iAd service, e.g. interactive multimedia ad’s seamlessly integrated into apps, but it appears to go further in that Google says that it is designed to meet the needs of a broader range of advertisers such as local advertisers, direct response advertisers and brand advertisers. According to Google, it is also designed to integrate Google’s portfolio of online advertising tools, e.g. Adwords and Adsense, plus support advertising services offered by third parties.
Google describes AdSense for Mobile Apps as a service for serving up contextually relevant ads within an smartphone (e.g. Android or iPhone) app. AdSense for Mobile Apps is said to support multiple ad formats: Expandable Ads, Banner Ads, Text Ads, Click to Call Ads. The Expandable Ads function like iAds in that they provide rich media content integrated directly into the app. Touch on the Expandable Ad and the app slides down and the ad opens up. You need not leave your app to watch the ad. The “Click to Call” ads allow a user to click on an ad to directly call the provider of the product or service being advertised. The Ad is location aware so the user will be provided with the phone number most relevant to their current location.
The strength behind the Google offering is that it leverages the ad submission, placement and utilization reporting tools that it has refined over the past 10 years. Google’s AdSense for Mobile Apps will easily allow advertisers to select their ad type, define their placement criteria, submit their ad and pay for their ad. It remains to be seen how the Apple iAd service will compare.
The one thing that I would bet on however is that these new mobile advertising tools will attract ad dollars that would have been earmarked for digital signage. It remains to be seen how much, but I’m betting it will be a lot. My upcoming white paper will explain why I feel this way and what the digital signage industry can do to prepare itself.