Our Future in Paid Search May Lie in Mobile Ads…But Are They Worth Our Attention Yet?

By Dave Zorn | Jun 20, 2008
More Articles by Dave

The Boston Celtics just won the NBA Title this week in a very convincing 39 point victory over the Lakers. The NBA Finals had the highest ratings in nearly a decade and the Celtics got to relish in the fact that they had dominated the very best players in the world in front of millions of tv viewers. Everyone was happy (well except Laker’s fans). Now, imagine if the same Celtics team had played a team of 8 year olds in front of a few dozen parents. No one would have been able to view it. A case can be made that the visibility of ads on Google, Yahoo, and the other engines versus the visibility of mobile ads is comparable to the disparity of visibilty between the Boston Celtics playing in front millions of fans and playing in a middle school gym in front of a few dozen supportive parents.

I know, that was a very long winded analogy just to say that there is a huge gap in the number of ad impressions currently being shown on the desktop engines versus the number of ad impressions being shown on mobile devices, but I really wanted to talk about basketball. I will get back on topic now.

The reason I am writing this post is partly because of a report released this week by Nielson Mobile revealing how, through various statistics, Google is already “dominating” their competition in the mobile search ad market. As you can see in the Nielson report, though Google may be dominating the other engines in mobile search, there still aren’t many people taking advantage of it. Sure, the average Google user conducted 9 searches per month, but remember, the average user in this study is a person who has access to the internet on their mobile device. And not everyone is priveleged enough to have this convenience, meaning the pool of searchers is much smaller then it is on the desktop engines themselves. Does this mean that mobile search isn’t worth our attention yet though? Not necessarily.

A major advantage of starting to utilize mobile search for your clients now is that you can get a jump on your competition and be established once more of the general population has access to the internet from their mobile devices. This will happen sooner then most realize. A recent posting by David Szete on Search Engine Watch predicts that the future of search will be focused on mobile. And he isn’t the only one, Google CEO Eric Schmidt even stated “mobile advertising [will] generate more revenue than advertising on today’s Web” at the end of last month. Another advantage is that the clicks are very cheap right now (the average CPC on one of our larger clients’ Google mobile ad groups is $0.16).

Phones in the near future will become more sophisticated and used for more then just talking. They will essentially become all-in-one devices in which you can surf the web, catch up on tv and do pretty much anything else you rely on multiple other devices to do today. Staying ahead of the the competition and anticipating what will happen next are two fundamentals any good business (and the Boston Celtics) practices, so why not invest in mobile search today? At least you know it won’t cost very much.

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