Boston’s Mobile Startups React to Google’s $750M AdMob Purchase
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the business of placing ads on mobile websites or inside mobile applications is still so new that much of the time, there aren’t enough ads to fill all the available slots. The ads that are available are often bottom-of-the barrel material that bring publishers a pathetically small fee.
But Tornabene argues that Google’s decision marks a certain maturation in the market. Fill rates, the percentage of available ad inventory that’s filled with an ad, have been going up gradually, she says. “Not every Web publisher has 100 percent fill either, but we have seen those numbers go up over the past year,” Tornabene says. “Quite a few things play into that, but one of the key ones is that many of the large brands and direct markets have really seen this year as one in which to invest in mobile. At Quattro and AdMobs business grew in a year when we were in a recession and advertising over all was not growing. It shows that there is that investment.”
And Google may have seen AdMob as a particularly appealing acquisition, given that its model for selling and placing advertisements, like Google’s, is largely automated. Quattro, too, has a self-service option, says Tornabene, but also has a firm lock on what she calls “premium” mobile advertisers. So she isn’t too worried that AdMob, now that it will be able to tap into Google’s own ad networks and the search firm’s involvement in the Android mobile operating system, will leave the rest of the mobile ad industry in the dust.
Doyle, at uLocate, expressed admiration and even wonderment over Google’s aggressive move into the mobile media business. “Google is just running away with mobile,” he says. “They are much more heavily invested in the space now than just a couple of years ago, from the operating system through to the apps and the services and the monetization. They identified mobile as being extremely important and they went after it at every level.”
Could Google be the tide that lifts all boats in the mobile business? Tornabene thinks so. With Google getting serious about its mobile ad efforts, more advertisers may decide it’s time to jump in, she says. “Having a company such as Google say that this is an important market, important enough to be our third-largest acquisition every, I really think brings a focus to the marketplace, not only within the financial community but also within the advertising community,” says Tornabene. “There may be advertisers now saying, ‘Oh, we haven’t looked at this market as closely as we should have.’”