AdMob, a mobile advertising network, has been in the news recently for the acquisition deal by Google. The acquisition is currently under FTC review and awaiting approval. Following this deal, the company is set for expansion mode. AdMob, which was started in 2006, has offices in the US, Europe, the Middle East, APAC, Africa and Latin America.
In conversation with exchange4media, Mahesh Narayanan, Country Manager, AdMob India, said, “AdMob has seen a lot of traffic growth in India in the past year. Mobile web traffic from India has crossed 1 billion per month on the AdMob platform already. This represents a growth of over 100 per cent in the past year, which is staggering.”
He further said that smartphones were already contributing 64 per cent of the mobile web traffic being generated in India. “Since mobile web traffic from India has more than doubled in the past 12 months, AdMob expects it to double in the next 12 months as well. An increasing number of advertisers are realising the opportunities for brand engagement and user acquisition on the mobile web. This will result in a significant increase in the number of advertisers and publishers on the platform in 2010,” he added.
Sharing his view on how mobile as a medium was looked at in India vis-à-vis globally, Narayanan said that mobile ownership and usage far outstripped ownership of PCs with Internet access globally and in India as well. He also felt that mobile was the only medium where a marketer could run highly targeted programmes at scale and that in the near future mobile Internet usage would overtake fixed line Internet usage in India.
However, there was also a concern whether marketers would take such ad platforms seriously in a country like India. Narayanan stressed, “Mobile web media consumption is going through the roof and no marketer can afford to ignore this opportunity to engage with consumers. Mobile is already a vital component of the overall digital strategy for most advertisers.”
He further said, “We are already seeing an increasing number of brands and traditional media companies making significant investments on our platform. Telecom operators like Vodafone, Idea and Reliance have been using the medium for VAS marketing and tactical tariff plan launches. Apart from that, even handset manufacturers like Nokia, Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson have been consistently using the platform for brand launches and specific promotions.”
Sharing some predictions for the year ahead, Narayanan said that in the coming months, one could see a proliferation of smartphones since the price barriers of smartphones had come down with the introduction of a slew of new handset brands. This would result in a proliferation of more capable Internet-ready handsets, he added. Another aspect that he thought would happen was the availability of unlimited data plans, which would result in an increased usage of the mobile web. He also hoped that advertisers would put in more money in this medium, which would lead to some significant growth in the mobile advertising market in the next 12 months.
While AdMob is very clear about its growth strategy, other companies such as Apple, too, are trying to make their mark felt in this domain. In January, Apple had acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising company, and they have been talks about Apple launching iAd, a mobile advertising company. While AdMob was not ready to comment on the issue, it would be interesting to see how the introduction of Apple’s mobile ad company would affect the other players in the market.