Beyond AdMob: There’s Plenty More Mobile Ad Networks To Go Around

The federal government is expected to rule any day now on whether Google’s acquisition of AdMob should be approved.

The concern is that the two companies will create a monopoly in the space before it even gets off the ground. We’ve made the case before on why the FTC should approve the deal, but one point that has gotten lost in the shuffle is that despite AdMob’s size, it is not the only mobile ad network with revenues, market share or a top-notch client list.

In fact, that’s far from the truth. To demonstrate, I was able to drum up a couple of lists, outlining revenues for the top U.S. mobile ad networks and market share by clicks. While AdMob and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) together would easily top both charts, there’s several players that could still become market-leading forces despite their relative obscurity.

The first chart estimates U.S. mobile advertising revenues in 2009, according to IDC Analyst Karsten Weide. As you can see, if Google and AdMob’s revenues were added together, it would be the largest ad network with $59 million in revenues and a 21 percent market share. But if the acquisition is rejected, Millennial Media is the largest with $35 million in revenues and a market share of 12 percent. (Note: Millennial Media’s strength is in the U.S., whereas AdMob has a large international presence, as well).

In the second chart, mobile research firm Ground Truth abstracted data from its sources to find out the leading ad networks based on the number of clicks an ad receives. The data was taken from a recent week in April and from a sample set of three million users. Whereas the first chart ranked revenues, this chart better shows the ad network’s reach. AdMob is listed as having a jaw-dropping 62 percent market share. Quattro Wireless, which was purchased by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), has an 11.4 percent market share, and Millennial Media is in third with a 9.5 percent market share.

The one thing that really sticks out on both of these lists is the number of ad networks in general — in fact, start-ups have been able to compete successfully along side internet power-houses, like Google, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) for some time. If Google does indeed gobble up AdMob, there seems to be plenty of more players for future acquisitions by others or even for a roll-up by investors with deep pockets.