Done With Dumb Phones, AdMob Doubles Down on Apps

AdMob is on its way to becoming an app-only ad network.

By the end of this month, the Google-owned mobile ad seller will quit serving ads to older, WAP-based (define) mobile sites. Instead it will direct those publishers to its AdSense network, where Google says it is “pleased to offer a unified, specialized service for mobile web site publishers.”

Beginning on October 1, AdMob will be Google’s hub for ads on high-end devices such as iPhones and Android gadgets. That includes both app and browser-based inventory, but eventually AdMob intends to kick out all the browser ads. While it hasn’t named a cut-off date for when it will stop serving ads to smart phone browsers, it’s encouraging all mobile web publishers to begin the switch to AdSense now.

Why the exclusive focus on apps? One reason is they offer a richer creative palette and therefore higher CPMs than many browser environments. By focusing on such premium offerings as the mobile ad space matures, AdMob may hope to avoid the fate of legions of Web-based ad networks that suffered years of weak prices resulting from an excess of Interactive Advertising Bureau standard banner inventory.

According to Google, the bifurcation of web and app mobile inventory is simply another step in the integration of AdMob and Google. That integration was previously indicated by offerings such as DoubleClick ad serving in AdMob and an AdSense backfill option for AdMob publishers with unsold inventory.

In its blog post warning mobile publishers of the change, Google sought to assuage concern among mobile site owners that the move could result in a technical headache and lower revenue. It said, “We are absolutely confident that…we’ll be able to offer the best technology and reporting, the easiest to use tools, the highest quality ads, and the most revenue possible.”

Google says the division of its mobile ad sales into app and web-based inventory has been underway for some time. Earlier this year, participants in an AdSense for Mobile Applications beta test were switched to AdMob.

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