Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Industry Reaction to Google - AdMob

Andy Miller, CEO of Quattro Wireless, Waltham, MA --

I think it has a huge impact. We’ve been hearing rumblings, and I was hoping that it would be Google. It’s a huge validation point for the industry, as Google is the most sophisticated mobile player, and it wanted to accelerate on this with a mobile ad specialist like AdMob.

Google said that the mobile Web is different and we need to accelerate in this space. It’s an exciting development for Quattro, as well.

Agencies are the ones putting it on the table in front of brands, and a lot them are partners with Google, so this further validates the space for them. It’s further justification to present mobile plans to their clients.

This ups everyone’s ante. Hopefully we’ll lead the way with our targeting. It’s a pretty robust ecosystem of folks trying to move the market, and this will accelerate it and move it forward by years.

This is the first big domino to fall. When Google comes out and said mobile is different and we want to dominate it, people will take notice.

Paul Palmieri, president/CEO of Millennial Media, Baltimore, MD --

What happened today is astounding. Google’s perspective has always been that mobile is just the Internet. Today Google validated what many companies including Millennial have thought for years—that mobile is a different market with a huge potential for advertising, possibly a bigger opportunity than online media.

As the clear leader in mobile brand advertising, we are happy to see a player like Google bring economies of scale to the performance advertising space in mobile.

Millennial Media has generated our substantial lead in the market by focusing on the advertiser, delivering results, and has been rewarded with the largest reach of any media company large or small.

Reaching 80 percent of the U.S. mobile audience, we look forward to working alongside the Google/AdMob pairing to fully realize the vast potential of the mobile advertising market. Congratulations to Google and to AdMob.

Paran Johar, New York-based chief marketing officer of Jumptap --

The announcement is causing tremendous excitement as it validates the enormous potential of mobile advertising. We predicted consolidation in the industry and AdMob’s broad high-volume business model is highly synergistic for Google.

The industry frontrunner will be determined by who can deliver the most advanced targeting capabilities for better ROI for advertisers and publishers.

Patrick Moorhead, director of emerging media at Razorfish, Chicago

It’s obviously super-exciting—it’s obviously a landmark deal, not only the scale of it, but the fact that it’s Google. It’s a sign that mobile is no longer emerging media, because they bought scale, they bought the leader in the space. I’m a huge fan of those guys, we do a lot of business with them and with Google, and this is good news for everyone in the industry.

What it means for other ad networks is that there is a future for their business and it’s growing—a rising tide floats all boats. Other players shouldn’t be thinking ‘game over,’ they should be thinking ‘game on.’

If you take the model that happened with our company (see story), Google picked up DoubleClick and Microsoft picked up aQuantive, this signals that Google played their cards, bought a leader and, based on precedent, it won’t be long before Microsoft looks around and says ‘wow, we have to make a move.’

Brands are the only people who aren’t playing effectively in the mobile space, and this is a wake-up call to clients who says mobile is not a real opportunity, because it is. Google doesn’t get involved in anything it doesn’t think has scale.

David Gwozdz, CEO of Mojiva Inc., New York --

The news that Google acquired mobile advertising player AdMob for $750 million confirms the legitimacy of the mobile advertising industry, and overcomes any skepticism of whether small screens can offer big opportunities to reach mobile consumers.

The fact that Google has placed a premium on owning a mobile ad network is very notable. The market has definitely matured to the point where it makes sense for online behemoths to try to combine networks, analytics and delivery technologies in the hopes of capturing a share of this growing market.

Michael Chang, CEO of Greystripe, San Francisco --

This is an unprecedented validation of mobile advertising and demonstrates the value of rapidly growing a mobile-only advertising platform.

It is also a clear sign that Google understands the value of the mobile channel and brought in a company that has created a mobile-specific solution. We congratulate all of our industry colleges over at AdMob on their hard work.

Gib Bassett, director of marketing at Interactive Mediums, Chicago --

Upon hearing this news today, my initial reaction was ‘validation for mobile advertising,’ but definitely not ‘game over for ad networks as a competitive segment.’ Given the high valuation placed on AdMob, Google clearly sees what AdMob has created as very compelling and a strategic fit with its pre-existing ad program, AdSense.

I think the value of ads displayed in rich apps, such as ones served by AdMob, may have more value than AdWords served on search results pages and sites across the AdSense network, simply because an app user has so much more invested in the experience and therefore is paying a lot more attention to what's being displayed for them.

I thought the news was especially interesting given recent word that AOL was likely exiting the mobile ad business despite a lot of investment and an acquisition [of Third Screen Media]. So although mobile advertising is a relatively new category, it's matured a lot in a short period of time, having seen large efforts like AOL's come and go, and a giant like Google coming in and making a statement like it has buying AdMob.

I'd also say that this is another indicator of the ‘mobile customer experience’ driving the smart moves in the industry.

Google knows that to provide the best mobile ad offering, it needs to consider all the ways ads can be most effectively served to consumers on mobile devices—across mobile-optimized Web-search results through rich smartphone applications. They have done that exactly and now have a stronger offering which blends AdSense and AdMob.

For other ad networks, there is still room to move, but they need to more clearly differentiate their offerings.

As the nature of the mobile channel continues to morph and lines among disconnected categories like SMS text messaging, the mobile Web and applications start to blur, there should still be room for other ad networks to come up with innovative ways of helping marketers connect with their customers in the most timely and relevant manner possible.

Gary Schwartz, president/CEO of Impact Mobile, New York --

AdMob has done a tremendous job globally of positioning mobile as extension of the digital buy. Although display advertising on mobile is still relatively embryonic, digital standards bodies like the Interactive Advertising Bureau are actively positioning mobile as an extension of the more mature online cousin.

There is no doubt that this Google deal will further legitimize the mobile display buy with brands and agencies.

Eric Harber, president and chief operating officer of HipCricket, Kirkland, WA --

Given that Google is the buyer and the size of the deal is so large, this is certainly a milestone moment for mobile advertising and marketing. It provides additional validation to our firm belief and experience that mobile marketing has moved beyond the test phase and now has a seat at the table when the brand’s marketing mix is developed and dollars are allocated.

However, mobile advertising isn’t an end-all solution for brand managers seeking to reach consumers via mobile. Oftentimes, SMS is the gateway to engagement because of its ability to reach the great majority of mobile subscribers who have text messaging capabilities on their devices.

Calls-to-action and the resulting activity by consumers have proven to drive sales and give brands a valuable, permission-based ongoing relationship with consumers looking for ongoing information and offers. This personalized loyalty and relationship marketing aspect is uniquely driven via SMS mobile marketing and is growing in importance.

Dave Gwozdz, CEO of Mojiva, New York --

The news that Google acquired mobile advertising player AdMob for $750 million confirms the legitimacy of the mobile advertising industry, and overcomes any skepticism of whether small screens can offer big opportunities to reach mobile consumers.

The fact that Google has placed a premium on owning a mobile ad network is very notable. The market has definitely matured to the point where it makes sense for online behemoths to try to combine networks, analytics and delivery technologies in the hopes of capturing a share of this growing market.

Zohar Levkovitz, CEO of Amobee, Redwood City, CA --

The recent marriage between Google and AdMob is a clear indicator that the mobile advertising industry has a bright future.

Industry innovation will also stand to benefit from Google entering the competitive mix.

However, Google’s recent financial commitment also signals to operators developing their own mobile advertising offerings that there is no time for complacency.

While operators still own the mobile market in terms of reach and the subscriber in terms of trust, billing relationships, user demographics and targeting information, it is undeniable that Google’s recent acquisition is a game-changer.

Nevertheless, there are still challenges to overcome and fragmentation continues to be a stumbling block.

In order for mobile advertising to have a strong, viable future, we believe that the solution must be more centralized around the unbeatable assets of the mobile operators.

Major brands and media buyers want a one-stop shop solution and access to the operator’s premium inventory. An operator-centric approach will play a key role in making this possible and further accelerate adoption.

Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi, Seattle --

AdMob is a Zumobi partner and this is a great validation of the potential of the mobile advertising space.

Zaw Thet, CEO of 4Info, San Mateo, CA --

Beyond our obvious joy for Omar, Tony [Nethercutt, vice president of sales at AdMob], Jason [Spero, vice president of marketing at AdMob] and all our friends at AdMob, there’s much more to this story, such as:

· Thus far, nobody has talked about what this means for Android/Droid – and whether this will hurt iPhone developers and/or help other mobile ad networks as Google influences AdMob to spend more time on Android.

· We believe this is great news for the mobile industry as it indicates the momentum and growth we’ve experienced over the past two years. That said, the rumor we’ve heard has Apple also bidding for the business – maybe one reason the price was so good.

· Lastly, we want to clear something up. It has been pointed out that 4Info's primary short code [44636] is featured in the SMS ads picture on Google’s announcement page – this does not imply any kind of special relationship with Google or AdMob. We do work with both companies, but it does reinforce that SMS is a critical part of the industry, and that no mobile marketing/advertising program is complete without SMS. We also believe it speaks to our leadership position in the SMS space.