Mobile advertising got more (less?) competitive

Google just nabbed AdMob for a handy $750M. Congrats to AdMob founder Omar Hamoui who got into the space early and executed very aggressively. More details on the acqusition here.

The background story here is of the explosion in mobile browsing and mobile applications driven by the iPhone. That s what fueled a lot of AdMob s growth in the past 18mos. I was at a dinner with Omar about a year ago. He had the numbers in his sights and predicted growth will accelerate.

This is mixed news for the other players in mobile advertising. The gap between the largest player and the next one down just got much, much bigger. Key takeaways:

  • Google s reach with advertisers and their targeting technology are likely to improve the performance of the AdMob network measurably. It s difficult to see how others can compete meaningfully on scale.
  • Startups main advantage is technical innovation and business agility. Both should be severely discounted in mobile where, in addition to the device & network fragmentation, operators and app store owners exert a significant degree of control which, often as an unintended consequence, slows the pace of innovation.
  • There is an opportunity to shift competitive advantage from volume to quality as Quattro has done but that s a tough business to scale even in a growing market. In the end, the biggest risk here is that large players such as Google can always buy your customers with guaranteed minimums.

It s time for mobile publishers to take more control over their inventory by looking at players such as Nexage.

About Simeon Simeonov

Entrepreneur. Investor. Trusted advisor.
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