Google, Apple deals show major potential of mobile

If there was any doubt over the opportunity that mobile advertising presents, Apple’s acquisition of mobile advertising network Quattro Wireless and the Google-AdMob deal from last year have cleared it right up.

At the same time it’s also important to point out the advantages mobile operators can offer advertisers which these partnerships won’t benefit from. The acquired ad networks will help with monetising mobile internet traffic, mobile applications and mobile games through the insertion of ads. However, huge opportunities are being missed in not tapping into core and traditional mobile services, even with the growing popularity of smartphones.

Mobile operators hold key assets of great value that can’t be replicated by any other player in the value chain, not even by ad networks. Firstly, operators have access to more channels than pure mobile internet display ads – from ringback tones to P2P SMS/MMS, visual voicemail, video etc. The options are almost limitless, meaning advertisements can reach all users regardless of their phone type.

Secondly, operators know their users and their interests – information can be tailored accordingly to reduce the risk of spam and irrelevant ads. And thirdly, operators can also offer customers incentives such as free or reduced-price mobile services in return for receiving ads on their phone.

The size of these recent deals show the huge potential Google and Apple see in this industry. And it will certainly boost mobile operators seeking to enter and/or extend their activities in this relatively new domain, especially when they’re in possession of assets that trump the off-deck mobile advertising framework.