Mobile Ads Find a Welcome on Smartphones

Mobile device users are remarkably open to advertising on their phones. The biggest mobile marketing gluttons so far? It’s iPhone users, according to new statistics from AdMob, a mobile Web site advertising provider.

Smartphone operating systems, overall, generated 34 percent of total US-based mobile ad requests in December, 2008. That’s a 20 percent spike since last May. Of that 34 percent, 48 percent came from iPhone owners, according to AdMob’s December metric report released late last week.

Research in Motion Blackberry users and Windows Mobile handset users follow with 19 percent and 15 percent US share respectively.

The research underscores a growing body of research that points to mobile as the next breakout area for advertising and marketing approaches built for smaller form factors.

Big players including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and AOL are angling for position.
“The smartphone is making a big impact on mobile advertising as the devices are engaging the mobile user and providing a lot more opportunity for advertisers to reach out in different ways,” Nicole Leverich, AdMob spokesperson, told

AdMob analyzes mobile Web and application usage based on its network of more than 6,000 publishers and 400 applications worldwide. Market share is calculated by the percentage of requests received from a particular handset or OS and does not represent trends or growth with handset sales.

A November Kelsey Group study on mobile device use reported that more mobile users than ever have Internet-enabled smartphones — and are using them more often to search for product information and local maps and directions. The study said the percentage of smartphone users accessing Web sites grew 20 percent from 2007 — from 32.4 percent to 38.9 percent.

The growth in mobile Internet use is good news for the mobile advertising businesses, according to Steve Marshall, Kelsey’s director of research and consulting; he described mobile advertising as an untapped, underpenetrated market at this point.

A smartphone’s ability to leverage various technologies is driving more creative advertising and that is also spurring traffic, explained Leverich.

“The best mobile advertising is that which is unique and engages a user,” said Leverich. Mobile devices let advertisers reach out to users at any time and any place which also drives greater traffic compared to PC-focused advertising.

“There’s so much more opportunity for advertisers on a device like the iPhone, things they couldn’t do on a PC campaign,” she said, noting that one electronic retailer’s ad let users plug in a zip code, which then launched the Google maps application in order to provide specific insight on product availability at a specific store location. Another retailer’s mobile ad lets users click through to leave a voice mail for a favorite athlete.

Worldwide, AdMob said the Symbian OS remains the leader in grabbing mobile ad clicks, with a share of 41 percent. The iPhone held 32 percent worldwide share, up from just 6 percent last may.

Once again, on a global basis, RIM and Windows both lag well behind with just 10 percent and 9 percent respectively.

Palm’s OS had 4 percent share worldwide share, with more than 95 percent of its requests generated in North America. Palm’s global share had reached 20 percent in June with the success of the Palm Centro, according to the report.

That decline could reverse in a short few months given last week’s debut of the new webOS platform and Pre. Palm’s new system and handset promise on-demand Internet access and a compelling browser experience.

“We won’t know until we see it in the market but Palm’s share jumped when the Centro was released mid last year,” Severich noted.

Just two months after it launched in the US, the Google Android OS on the G1 handset captured 2 percent US market share.

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