Mobile Advertising

GoogleAds have made me a believer again in online advertising. I'm making a few hundred dollars a month from text ads on a site that gets only about 10,000 unique users a month. But that's nuuuuthing. I know someone who's made more well more than $10,000 in google ads in the same time period. That's *real* cash. Think about this in comparision to TypePad's model. $10,000 a month means (at an average of $10 a user) 1,000 users which need to be recruited and supported. Though maybe you can can support 1k as easily as 10k, the point is that advertising is relatively easier.

Okay, AND you all know what they say (though I haven't really found where "they" say it yet): Soon more people will access the Internet via their mobile phones rather than PCs. If you consider that Nokia's talking about 1 billion more mobile users on top of the current 1 billion users, we're going to see hundreds of millions of users online wirelessly in the next few years. And advertising to them is going to make *real* cash.

Now, I'm not dropping back to the heady days of 1999 when the internet business models all included "banner ads" somewhere on the first page, but I'm thinking that Google is making *billions* of dollars in advertising and giving out substantial enough scraps to the rest of us that we need to take it seriously.

I've got a fun idea for a mobile website which would be advertising supported. It's a one-trick pony website that probably could be copied relatively quickly, but still. The fact is that for a moment, it might be able to garner enough hits to generate some revenue... *IF* I could figure out how to get someone to pay me for the ads. Two problems with this: 1) I'm not sure if there's any agencies that do mobile advertising like I'm thinking about (like Google's) and 2) where are the recipients of the sites going to go if they like the advertisement and want to click on it? There's a dearth of XHTML/WAP websites out there, especially generic sites that would want to advertise via a mobile.

It's almost tempting to want to dive into this and solve the chicken/egg problem, no? Set up a registry like Google's where people reverse-bid for the text ads, then offer not only the text link, but an XHTML page as well, so that when mobile users click on the link they have somewhere to go. And like I've pointed out before, these people have a *phone* in their hands and a quick WAP tag can dial a number, so instead of "click here for more information", you could easily do something like "click here to talk to one of operators, toll free!"

The fact is that I first thought about mobile advertising in terms of interupting the user and taking over their display for a minute - almost like pop-ups, but actually are just interstitials that go away after a few seconds, like Salon's annoying ads. And that's just it. On a mobile phone with a shaky connection (even with the best of current networks) a small text link above or below your mobile content might actually be the best route. Simple, honest and straight forward, just like Google's text ads.

Lots to think about. I wonder if Google is thinking at all about the mobile market? They should have a (get it?) which indexes just mobile sites (WAP and XHTML-MP) and sell mobile advertising...


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