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Google cans WAP support on AdMob to pursue app developers

By drawing a stronger distinction between AdMob and AdSense, Google hopes to improve the in-app ad experience and build a stronger position with developers.

Google is addressing what it says is a confusion among its customers over whether they should use AdMob or AdSense by trying to eliminate any overlap between the two. Most recently, the company said it will stop support for older WAP mobile Web sites on AdMob in order to make the mobile advertising marketplace a specialized solution for app developers.

?Google has drawn a distinct line between the high-value, highly dynamic in-app advertising space and the higher volume, but lower margin mobile Web ad space,? said Marlon Rodrigues, director of alliance at Polar Mobile, Toronto.

?This move matches the market reality that brands have a greater opportunity to monetize their in-app inventory with ad units that are more highly engaging than traditional mobile Web ads,? he said.

?Marketers are going to add AdMob as one of the rich media mobile ad SDKs that they will plan and design for, now that Google has cleared up its position in the mobile space, and shown a commitment to investing in it.?

In-app activity grows
Google acquired AdMob for $750 million in late 2009 to enhance its existing expertise and technology in mobile advertising, while also giving advertisers and publishers more choice.

The search giant said in a recent post on its mobile advertising blog that the company has been working to combine the best of AdMob and AdSense, while trying to meet suit customers? needs.

The recent steps to make AdMob a distinctive solution for app developers come at a time when in-app activity continues to grow. A recent study from ABI Research reveals that the worldwide mobile application industry will reach 44 billion downloads by 2016.

?The real advantage gained here is unshackling AdMob?s team to develop more robust experiences in their ad SDKs, which will result in more profitable revenue for Google in the long-run,? Mr. Rodrigues said. ?These AdMob SDKs can now be sent to rival the user experiences already enabled by much smaller ad server businesses.?

In addition to ceasing support for WAP mobile Web sites on AdMob, the mobile advertising network will no longer support sites and ads made to be viewed on high-end devices. Support will remain in place for an unspecified amount of time before being phased out. 

?It?s about removing overlaps between AdMob?s and AdSense that resulted from the acquisition,? said Aapo Markkanen, London-based senior analyst for consumer mobility at ABI Research. ?Google wants to eliminate duplicate efforts and have a more straightforward offering to mobile marketers ? AdMob for native apps, and AdSense for Web."

Earlier this year, Google switched all beta participants in AdSense for Mobile Applications to AdMob.

Ad user experience
The result of the series of steps is that AdMob is now Google?s primary, specialized solution for app developers, giving them a way to monetize, measure and promote mobile apps while AdSense is now geared to mobile Web publishers who want to monetize their mobile Web content.

Google is looking to build its mobile advertising and, with this in mind, has also recently introduced new tablet experiences, targeting options and creative formats and as well as building new integrations between AdMob and DoubleClick products with rich media ad serving into apps.

The new structure for AdMob and AdSense will also help content publishers who are using similar Web technology between their desktop and mobile sites to use AdSense seamlessly.

?App developers are going to pay closer attention to the AdMob SDKs,? Mr. Rodrigues said.

?Though Google ad-serving in some form is installed at a significant number of our customers, the mobile app ad user experience has not matured very much.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York