Everybody has been talking about mobile advertising like its going to blow everything else out of the water. That talk's about ten years tired now, and still...nothing. Its a tough problem, one that faces all forms of advertising: how do we not annoy the crap out of our consumers? There have been examples of mediums that didn't solve this problem (who in fact used its existence as a means of accessing consumers). Those would be pop-up ads on your browser. The endless sea of pornography and gaming sites covering your entire screen...yeah, that builds great brand image. So when Eric Schmidt goes on Cramer and says that Google will eventually make more money from mobile ads than desktop? Big statement, especially considering that the problem is still, well, a problem. Schmidt went on CNBC's "Mad Money" last night to discuss the mobile ad concept with Cramer (full transcript here), and was quite optimistic of the role mobile will play in Google's future. He also reiterated that, even though www.google.com is ranked #2 on the web in traffic (behind Yahoo), there will (hopefully) never be any ads littering the site's real estate. "We absolutely are not going to sell that page," Schmidt told Cramer. I think we can all understand the value of keeping that page, and by extension the company's image, clean.
But how to make money in mobile? Cramer poses the question with regard to the greed of wireless carriers (maybe Android is the answer??). Even if Google figures out a smart and non-invasive way of placing targeted ads (as they most certainly will), is it possible to structure the economics in a way that makes enough money (at least comparably to their desktop model)? AlleyInsider also brings up a good point: if Google were to make more money in mobile than desktop (currently bringing in over $20B for the company), the mobile ad market would have to grow from less than $1B to over $50B (SAI is assuming that Google takes about 50% of the market). That's a lot of growth. Just please, no location-based coupons like that hairbrained Starbuck's example.