Google (GOOG) takes another swing at mobile ad providers like AdMob, AOL’s (TWX) Third Screen Media, etc.: Its AdWords advertisers can now target text and image ads to Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and Google’s G1, the first phone running its Android operating system.
What’s the point? Before, iPhone users were seeing Google’s standard Web ads, which don’t look great. Now, they’ll be more tailored for smaller screens. And advertisers will be able to customise their ads for the phones, block them completely, get separate campaign reporting, and customise what happens when an iPhone or GPhone user clicks on the ad. For instance, it could boot up an app, load a YouTube video, etc.
Perhaps more important: A behavioural change. Offering iPhone and GPhone ads through AdWords trains advertisers to think of mobile more as a “feature” of their Internet ad campaign — bought through Google — and less as a separate ad campaign to worry about. This, over time, could benefit Google at the expense of mobile-focused ad networks.
The gist: Even as mobile browsers get better, there will still be a need for mobile-specific advertising and ad networks like AdMob. (AdMob, for instance, has taken a lead in serving up special ads for iPhone App Store software, something Google doesn’t currently offer.)