Mobile Advertising Could Become Answer To Sustainable Growth
Mobile gives Google "long-term growth insurance." That's how iSuppli's research group IHS Screen Digest describes one of three pillars enabling the Mountain View, Calif. tech company to continually grow revenue. Search, the cash cow, and video/display, which generate short-term revenue growth, remain the other two pillars.
When Google releases year-end and Q4 earnings Thursday it will report a 20.2% lift in search ad revenue to $25.4 billion compared with the prior year, according to IHS. Revenue from display advertising will rise by an estimated 61% for the year. But some believe it's mobile that could become the cash cow in the future.
On mobile, Google benefits from revenue generated by the increasing popularity of the Android operating system and the company's acquisition of AdMob. But the tech company isn't the only one profiting from mobile. The Partnership at Drugfree.org, a nonprofit organization that helps parents prevent and find treatment for child drug and alcohol abuse, launched a mobile advertising campaign on ChaCha.
The campaign, which ran during the last three weeks in December, yielded more than 9.8% engagement rates from the best-performing ads. The Partnership at Drugfree.org measured success by the percentage of consumers clicking through the text message to the non-profit's Web site. SMS text user response rates had an average of 4%, according to Hilary Baris, digital media and marketing director for The Partnership at Drugfree.org.
The campaign ran during the last three weeks in December, supporting SMS text messaging and mobile video advertising (MMS). It provides answers when asking about drugs, medication, alcohol and related topics. The goal is to prevent teens and tweens from abusing medicines through messages sent to teens and parents based on age and topic, aimed at helping educate them about the health risks posed by teen medicine abuse.
ChaCha users ask more than 20 million questions per year related to medicine, drugs, alcohol and treatment. They range from "What is the most addictive drug in the world?" to "What is one of the best drug rehab centers in the U.S.?" to "What does marijuana do to you?" to "Can you get high from cough medicine?"
Baris wants to keep running the mobile campaign, but doesn't have a marketing budget. All campaign media for the organization is donated to the non-profit. Last year the team of three at The Partnership at Drugfree.org managed to scrape up $80 million in advertising support. "We worked last year with Hulu, ValueClick, Women's Health," she says. "Mobile is just one of those things we're all tethered to, so it makes sense to reach out to parents through this type of campaign."
Traffic to ChaCha's Web site grew 116% in 2010, according to comScore.
ChaCha also closed $3 million of additional funding including $900,000 of outstanding warrants from new investor Qualcomm Ventures. This extends the round led by Silicon Valley investors VantagePoint Venture Partners and Rho Ventures in October 2010.
In December, ChaCha.com hit 28 million unique Web visitors and mobile users, according to Omniture reports. It is estimated that more than 32 million unique users will visit the site by the end of January. In December, the company announced that it answered the billionth question: How do you say friend in Elvish according to the Lord of the Rings? The response: "'Mellon' is the Elvish word for 'friend' in Lord of the Rings."