AdMob Hits One Billion

DSC_0081.JPGIf you’re not from around these parts, you might not know that my day job is working for AdMob, where I’m MD of Europe. I try to keep that from impinging on what I write on MobHappy, but sometimes I think there’s some stuff that you’ll find interesting and today is one such instance.

AdMob served its billionth ad over the weekend, which is a highly satisfying personal milestone. So Ra, Ra and all that.

More importantly though, it highlights some industry trends that are intriguing.

AdMob went live on January 18th 2006 and I heard about it a few weeks later. I blogged about it for the first time in March, comparing it to the new AdWords and I forecast that it had great potential. A few weeks after that, a VC suggested to Omar, the sole founder of AdMob, who had built the site in weekends and evenings while doing an MBA, that we should talk and I started helping out. This led to my being hired as first employee and building AdMob in Europe.

While it’s certainly true that AdMob hit the billion figure last weekend, it also hides the fact that actually,¬†the first six months saw 30 million ads (not bad from a¬†standing start), but our second six months saw a billion ads being sold. And if I was a betting man, I’d suggest that the next billion will take around 3 months.

This spectacular growth is actually indicative of quite a few trends that are happening in the market as a whole:

РUse of the mobile web is exploding generally, despite being held back (in my opinion) by the lack of flat rate data plans in Europe.

– The US is¬†our largest market by page views, despite having a smaller proportion of mobile web users – it’s a function of the overall population¬†size. Here’s the actual stats¬†

1. US                            20% (ninety million pageviews/month)
2. South Africa               15% (sixty-six million pageviews/month)
3. India                          13% (fifty-seven million pageviews/month)
4. UK                            12% (fifty three million pageviews/month)
5. Romania                      5% (twenty-two million pageviews/month)

It’s no accident that affordable¬†flat rate data plans are prevalent in the US and S Africa.

– Like any web sites, a mobile web site is accessible from everywhere. Therefore, it’s worth noting that¬†while pages are served all over the globe, most of the traffic actually comes from European web sites – I don’t think that we have any S African sites, for instance, despite being a huge market for mobile web consumption.

– We categorise the sites we work with into “channels”, so that advertisers can better understand where their ads will appear. In case it’s not clear, the sites where our advertising appears are independently owned, off-portal (for the moment)¬†sites. We arrange to serve ads in return for a revenue share.

The channels split down in terms of traffic into

1. Communities                          45 %
2. Downloads                             44%
3. Portals                                    8%
4. Entertainment                          2%
5. News and Information                1%

This is somewhat counter-intuitive as I would have assumed that news, as an example, would be pretty big for mobile. But then, it could be a function of the types of sites in our network. The BBC, as an example,¬†has¬†a significant mobile web presence globally and we can’t work with them as their Charter precludes it.

– Communities is the largest channel though and that’s a function of another major trend – MugCon, or Mobile User Generated Content. It’s already huge and about to get stratospheric.

Good news for Nokia! In terms of what handsets most people using the mobile web have, Nokia wins hands down.

1. Nokia                        41%
2. Motorola                   14%
3. Sony-Ericsson           13%
4. Samsung                   12%
5. LG                               3%

This is completly out of kilter with market share and I don’t know exactly why this would be. I have a couple of theories though, as you might expect. Maybe, it’s a personal prejudice, but I find Nokia much better in terms of usability to use the mobile web and in particular, my E61 is a delight (Declaration of interest: unlike Carlo, I paid for mine!). So this¬†phenomenon could be that users of the mobile web choose Nokia. Dunno, anyone else have ideas on this?

– Mobile marketing is a very hot space and it’s going to get even bigger now.

– If you are a brand and you’re considering building a mobile web site, get with the programme. Accessing the mobile web is no longer a niche for geeks. It’s mainstream and about to tip.

Here’s to 10 Billion!

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