Commentary

Stats Point To Google's Year For Mobile, 2011

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Two years from now, if someone googles "when did mobile search and display advertising become a reality for Google," the year "2011" will likely return in the search query. "The mobile Web is growing eight times faster than the desktop Web did 10 years ago," says Karim Temsamani, global head of mobile at Google.  

There are 2 billion people online with 5 billion mobile phones, but not all have smartphones with full-browser capabilities. Not yet, anyway. That will change this year. By the end of 2011, more than half the U.S. market will have full-browser capability to access content, Temsamani says.

Temsamani talked about how smartphones will "change the world" earlier this week at the ThinkMovie event in Hollywood. A little corny, yes -- but Temsamani acknowledges that the convergence of cloud computing and mobile trends will enable advertisers to become more creative. The cloud turns mobile into "super computers" by allowing the mobile devices to concentrate on processing power rather than storage, similar to dumb terminals and mainframes, which I reference in past Search Marketing Daily posts.

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A move toward consumers increasingly using mobile devices will foster the need for more video. Fifty-eight percent of people accessing YouTube on mobile devices remain on the site more than 20 minutes engaging with content, Temsamani says.

On Thursday, Susan Wojcicki, Google VP of advertising, told analysts and reporters during Google's Q1 2011 earnings call that AdMob, the display network Google acquired last year, has more than 150 million iOS and Android devices making requests per month. That's 50% more in the past four months, which provides insight into the speed with which mobile display advertising is growing.

Many Google advertisers have begun to run mobile-only campaigns, rather than bundling it with desktop campaigns, Wojcicki explains. They have mobile landing pages and campaigns that incorporate location. "For example, how far away is the advertiser from where you are standing right now?" she says. "These custom-made stations, again, get us to the perfect ad on mobile, since users also want to have location, or they want to have a phone number."

Google has also seen click-to-call take off, with more than 500,000 advertisers using this feature. As a result, the mobile-only campaigns are seeing an increase of 11.5% when they run a mobile-only campaign as opposed to a bundled mobile-desktop.

In a research note published Friday morning, Piper Jaffray Analyst Gene Munster wrote: "As search matures, Google's fast growing businesses like Android and mobile advertising, display, and YouTube are still not big enough to meaningfully pull overall growth rates higher. We do believe new CEO Larry Page could become a catalyst for growth by aggressively investing in new products and/or acquisitions that could fuel growth, but expect compressed margins during at least the next three quarters."

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