AdMob is a mobile advertising network that connects advertisers with publishers, allowing advertisers to target ads to mobile websites and, more recently, through iPhone apps.

We have been talking to AdMob’s European MD Thomas Shulz about the mobile ad marketing general, and how the growth in iPhone usage has affected the industry…

Can you explain how Admob works?

We serve billions of targeted and personalised ads on the mobile web and in iPhone applications each month through our Mobile Advertising Network. We’re the world’s largest mobile advertising marketplace with a network of more than 6,000 mobile sites and applications. We make it easy for publishers to monetise their mobile traffic and for advertisers to target and reach customers on their mobile phone in more than 160 countries.

What kind of reach do you have?

The size and scope of AdMob’s network of publishers gives us unparalleled reach. Today AdMob reaches more consumers on their mobile phones through our publisher network than any of the major internet portals or search services in the world, and this is just the beginning.

We continue to see a steep increase in the number of brand and performance advertisers running campaigns on AdMob’s network, with especially strong demand for iPhone inventory. In September 2008, AdMob ran more than 25 campaigns for brand advertisers including CoverGirl, Toshiba, and Comedy Central.

What formats are available for advertisers?

AdMob serves brand and performance ad units on mobile web sites as well as on iPhone applications.

Our iPhone ad formats take advantage of the context and capabilities of the device. The ad units blend graphical display ads with one of eight iPhone-specific actions such as one-touch access to the app store, maps to view relevant locations, audio to listen to content, or the ability to view video.

The ads are designed to function in either the browser environment or in applications built for the iPhone and come in both brand and performance formats. The two most used iPhone-specific ad actions in the first month were one-touch access to the Apple apps store and to play a video.

What kinds of ads are producing the best results on mobile ad networks?

Ads that take advantage of the mobile context and capabilities produce strong results.

How easy is it to measure mobile advertising ROI?

AdMob’s Mobile Analytics makes it easy for advertisers to measure the success of their advertising campaigns. This tool gives advertisers the ability to track specific events and actions that their campaign seeks to drive.

How accurately can you target these ads?

Advertisers want the ability to target specific groups of consumers for a campaign. AdMob makes it easy for advertisers to target their ads by demographics, geographic, site bundles, country, mobile operator, device manufacturer or by specific device.

Have mobile users been resistant to ads?

Consumers are receptive to advertising on their mobile phones, if it’s done the right way.  The strong CTR’s across our network clearly demonstrates this fact. The CTR varies from campaign to campaign, but the UK average is 0.9% for text and 1.25 -1.75% for banner. In addition, it’s worth noting that ads on AdMob’s iPhone network get, on average, triple the CTR of the rest of the network.  

How do you ensure that ads shown on small mobile screens are not intrusive?

AdMob delivers ads to consumers on their mobile phones and those consumers choose if they want to interact with the ad, if they do they pull the content to them.

Which formats are most acceptable for users?

Consumers want ads that are not intrusive and give them the ability to engage with advertisers that are relevant to them.

Do you have any examples of successful mobile ad campaigns?

AdMob recently worked with Toshiba to reach tech-savvy consumers and offer answers to their computer questions from Toshiba, The Laptop Expert. Toshiba ran banner and text ads in the AdMob network targeted to business travellers.

Toshiba also targeted AdMob’s iPhone network with canvas ads. In one month, AdMob delivered more than 40,000 clicks to Toshiba’s mobile site and more than 1,000 users engaged with their iPhone expandable canvas ad. The success of this campaign suggests that consumers are receptive to advertising on their mobile phone.

What new mobile advertising opportunities are offered by increased iPhone usage?

The iPhone clearly demonstrates how mobile advertising is evolving to become a rich, interactive environment for advertisers to engage with consumers. Advertisers want to reach this valuable audience of consumers on the iPhone and are looking for a partner with the quality reach, scale and technology necessary to help them take advantage of the unique capabilities and context of this device.

We are seeing a real impact across our larger mobile ad network as advertisers discover mobile through the iPhone, run successful campaigns and come back again with even more of their budget.

What kinds of business are spending most on mobile ads?

We are seeing businesses across a wide variety of categories embrace mobile advertising, this includes mobile phone manufacturers and carriers, publishers and portals, entertainment brands, autos, and retail and CPG companies.

How fast is the mobile ad market growing? Has the downturn had much effect on this?

Mobile advertising will continue to grow, albeit at a potentially slower rate given macro economic trends. The number of monthly ad requests in the AdMob network tripled from 1.6bn in September 2007 to 5.1bn in September 2008.

This increase is attributable to a combination of organic growth from AdMob’s legacy publishers and the addition of thousands of new mobile sites and applications to the company’s publisher network. The number of mobile sites and applications in AdMob’s network increased to more than 6,000, with 4,308 publishers requesting ads in September 2008.

What do you see in the future for mobile advertising?

We believe that the new class of smartphones, lead by the iPhone, is going to dramatically change consumer usage of their mobile phones and engagement.