Blog Post

Are Personalized Mobile Ads Evil?

As the mobile browsing experience forces people to search on smaller screens, where will Google place all of its revenue-generating text ads? Ben Kunz in BusinessWeek writes that the rise in mobile browsing on small screens equates to less ad space for Google.

I doubt very much it will mean the end of Google’s revenue stream, however. Mobile ads are both scarce and effective and as such, will only prompt Google to attach to them a luxury model. Though such luxury will have to mean more personalization — in other words, as Kunz suggests, more intense profiling and more personalized ads. Given its forays into storing medical data and its ability to search your desktop, I don’t think Google can afford to get too personal with its advertising without risking considerable backlash. But it continues to walk the line between utility and privacy without damaging either its brand or its ability to make money, so maybe Google will find a way.

7 Responses to “Are Personalized Mobile Ads Evil?”

  1. Mobile ads are no more intrinsically invading then ads on the computer. The problem with making mobile ads toooo location aware may lead to some funny incidents. You’re walking down the street past a strip club, you get an SMS ad from the strip club and then your wife sees the SMS…

  2. There are ways to serve ads so that the user does not feel harassed or spammed all the time, by integrating them into the service or application on the mobile phone in a way that they are highly relevant at that point in time. Imagine searching for a friend nearby on a location-based mobile social network, and alongside the results you see a couple of nearby cafes where you could arrange to meet up. Or when looking for nearby restaurants, one of them is simply put at the top of the list and highlighted. This is much better than an SMS adult chat ad sent at 9pm whilst you’re spending time with your wife and kids…

    Patrick Lord

  3. Aman Sehgal

    The way Google offers its personalization services such as iGoogle (a personalized web search page to which a user can add/remove applications), I think Google will offer personalization in a similar manner for displaying ads to earn money and gain respect too.

  4. We need an efficient ad-marketplace that utilizes the properties of a handset to its full extent – and location-awareness is one of the killer properties of the handset. Just imagine when your usage pattern on the handset can be used to deliver ads that you want instead of “Click here to access my Bermudan poker-site”-ad. When businesses can target a group of people that is drinking beer within a specific geographical area, and tell them: “Come to my pub across the street and the first round is on the house”. What would the value of a conversion in that case be worth for the advertiser?

    I believe we are going to see so many interesting and innovative mobile ad models in the near future.

    Christian Wiklund