Yesterday’s news that Apple is acquiring Quattro Wireless is further proof that the mobile advertising space continues to be competitive as well as ripe for terrific growth, according to industry sources.
In a public policy blog post, Google Group Product Manager Paul Feng wrote that with more investments and acquisitions in the space, including from established players like Apple and Google, “that’s a sign that vigorous growth and competition will continue.”
Google announced its planned acquisition of AdMob back in November.
As you might expect, other firms in the mobile ad space see Apple’s acquisition as proof positive that the mobile ad space is poised to be a lucrative one. “It is great to see our partners AdMob and now Quattro acquired by the giants who will clearly resource for further investment in mobile advertising in applications,” says Zohar Levkovitz, founder and CEO of mobile ad firm Amobee, in a statement. “At Amobee, our focus remains as an unbiased leader focused on the premium supply of our operator partners and innovating in areas to lubricate increased ad spend from brand and performance advertisers.”
But Mason Wiley, senior vice president of marketing for Hydra Network, a performance-based online advertiser, is more skeptical, saying the U.S. market just isn’t there yet. He says that for more than five years, mobile has been touted as the next evolution of advertising yet has consistently failed to deliver.
“My initial inclination is to say mobile advertising will have little effect for marketers, because in this country we are just not yet caught up with the rest of the world in use of our phones as transaction or serious surfing devices,” Wiley says.
Some companies in the mobile ad space point out that it’s not all about iPhone versus Android on the worldwide stage. InMobi, backed by Kleiner Perkins, says its network is bigger than AdMob or Quattro outside of the United States and is now the largest independent mobile ad network left.
“The global mobile advertising race is wide open. Everyone in the U.S. is focused on an Android vs. iPhone battle, but Nokia, RIM and Microsoft are main contenders on the global playground as evidenced by our data in over 125 countries,” says Anne Frisbie, head of North Americas at InMobi.
In general, analysts project a huge market in the years ahead. Forrester Research projects the mobile marketing spend in the United States will grow from $391 million in 2009 to $1.27 billion in 2014. eMarketer is somewhat more bullish, predicting that spending on mobile advertising will gain momentum over the next five years, reaching $1.56 billion by 2013.