AdMob and Others Tout iPhone Based Ad Offerings

As Apple iPhones proliferate, firms like mobile ad network AdMob are experimenting with ways to help developers and publishers make the most of the trend. The firm has launched iPhone-specific ad formats catering to both brand and performance-oriented campaigns. Other firms such as mobile ad companies JumpTap and PurpleTalk, and analytics firm Pinch Media also introduced new offerings designed for the popular device.

The new AdMob formats allow advertisers to target feature-rich ads in its pre-existing network to iPhone users, as well as enable application developers to insert AdMob ads into their apps. Advertisers including Electronic Arts, Ford, Universal Pictures and social mobile firm Loopt, as well as publishers like AccuWeather.com and MovieTickets.com are on board as launch partners for the service. All 5,500 publishers in the existing network can run the iPhone-targeted ads.

“We’re trying to take advantage of what this device is really good at,” said AdMob VP of Marketing Jason Spero regarding the acclaimed gadget.

The AdMob ads incorporate multiple iPhone-centric interactive functions, including audio and video, maps, and click-to-call, in addition to linking to iPhone sites, and custom advertiser offerings. The graphical ads are sold on a CPM basis, while text-based display units can be purchased on a cost-per-click basis.

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy, for instance, has a current campaign that lets users “Locate a Best Buy near You” via a map icon in its graphical ads. Auto advertisers like Ford, Jaguar, and Land Rover are adding video, click-to-call and map-based dealer locators to ads.

AdMob served 3.8 billion ads worldwide last month, Spero told ClickZ News. Around 52 million of those were served up to iPhone users through more than 1,000 mobile publisher sites. Movietickets.com reserved space for AdMob’s ad units when the firm designed its iphone.movietickets.com site, said Spero.

The company has twelve direct salespeople in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London, but sells the majority of its ads through its online self-serve interface. Publishers can also participate in the network through the do-it-yourself platform by grabbing code to add to their mobile sites.

The excitement around and increased adoption of Apple’s phone has spurred countless application developers to glom on by creating utilitarian and not-so-utilitarian capabilities exclusively for use with the product. Though some technologies already operate in conjunction with the iPhone, Spero explained, “What doesn’t work on the iPhone is Flash, and a lot of the PC Web is Flash.”

In the midst of yesterday’s Sunnyvale, CA MobileBeat 2008 conference, a handful of firms touted new iPhone-focused advertising wares. Analytics firm Pinch Media joined with JumpTap’s mobile ad network to launch an iPhone app ad network. Another firm banking on the Apple product’s prowess, PurpleTalk, also offers analytics for developers, and a service that lets them advertise their apps for free to users of the trendy appendage.

“It’s way, way, way, too early to know what people are going to engage with in an application” for the iPhone, said Spero, who said AdMob is “putting our money where our mouth is” by ponying up cash for developers. The firm will give 200 developers $5,000 each “to help drive awareness of their applications.”