Google for Mobile: How Google Makes Money from Mobile

By Larry Kim | Small Business

The mobile search market is experiencing out-of-control growth. Mobile searches have increased 200% year over year in 2012, and it’s predicted that within the next year, mobile will become the primary way people access Google’s services. But despite early reports, Google isn’t doomed from a sudden shift to mobile.

Far from it – the opposite in fact! Google has managed to transform itself into a “mobile first” company. Currently, the majority of Google’s $8B run-rate mobile revenue derives from advertising (excluding Motorola). That’s why the company is totally restructuring the way its pay-per-click advertising platform, AdWords, works – Google wants more businesses advertising on mobile, so it’s making mobile PPC radically simpler with the introduction of enhanced campaigns, as well as new mobile conversion types, offer extensions and a mobile app ad type, all specifically created to address mobile-centric use cases.

New research conducted by WordStream into Google’s mobile product portfolio reveals that Google’s mobile strategy centers around investments in four key mobile product areas: Mobile Devices, Mobile Apps, Mobile Content and Mobile Advertising.

We believe that with such an exciting mobile product portfolio, advertising formats have just scratched the surface of the mobile monetization opportunity.

In the below graphic, we outline Google’s top 20 mobile products, including a report card that grades each product based on quality, adoption, originality, value to advertisers and other criteria. Scroll through to learn what each of these products does – and how they add to Google’s bottom line! (Click on the image to enlarge to full size.)

Google for Mobile: How Google Makes Money from Mobile image google mobileGoogle for Mobile: How Google Makes Money from Mobile

Below is a quick summary of Google’s four areas of focus and the mobile products in each category.

Mobile Advertising: Google Ads for Mobile

Google’s key advertising products for mobile search include:

  • Google AdWords – AdWords, Google’s online ad serving platform used by millions worldwide, offers powerful mobile targeting options and ROI reporting tools for mobile advertisers.
  • Location and Call Extensions – These ad extensions help mobile advertisers reach local searchers and make it easy for them to convert. Everybody wins!
  • Google Offers – Google’s answer to Groupon, Living Social et al, Google Offers are mobile discounts that can be redeemed online or at brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Google AdMob – A mobile advertising platform specifically designed for mobile apps. Marketers can advertise their apps inside other existing apps.

Killer Mobile Apps: Google Apps for Mobile

Google’s portfolio of mobile app products include:

  • Google Maps – The gold standard for mobile map/GPS apps. Google understands that location is key to providing a great search experience (1 in 4 Google searches are related to location).
  • Google Now – A system of Siri-like voice commands and a card system that lets users customize the updates they want, when they want them. The dream of the perfect smartphone!
  • Google+ Local – Mobile users can search for nearby restaurants and entertainment rated by Zagat.
  • Google Play Books – Google’s version of Kindle, Google Play Books lets you read ebooks on a mobile device.
  • Google Wallet – A method for online payments via Google’s secure cloud servers. Google Wallet isn’t supported everywhere, but it’s a step toward cashless and cardless transactions.
  • Google Voice – Make cheap international calls, send free text messages, read voicemail transcripts and more.
  • Google Search App – Makes Google search easy to navigate on your mobile device.
  • Google Shopper – Helps mobile users find products to buy and make purchasing decisions.
  • Google Goggles  - An image recognition app that allows users to take a photo of an object to find more information about it. In its early stages, but exciting technology for visual search.

Mobile Content: Google Content for Mobile

  • Youtube – The world’s best video sharing website. Nothing else comes close! A full 40% of video views on YouTube now come from mobile devices, adding up to a billion views a day.
  • Google Play – An app store for purchasing mobile apps, ebooks and music, this is Google’s answer to iTunes.

Mobile Devices: Google Devices for Mobile

  • Android – Google’s Linux-based, open source operating system for mobile devices is the world’s most widely used smartphone platform.
  • Motorola – The dream is to combine Motorola’s great hardware with awesome Android software, but so far this dream hasn’t been realized.
  • Chrome for Mobile – Google’s Chrome browser for mobile makes the web easier to navigate from mobile devices.
  • Google Glass – Google’s much-hyped augmented reality glasses are still in development, but early models are reminiscent of science fiction. Fascinating and scary stuff!

The Future of Mobile

This infographic doesn’t even cover all the mobile products that Google has in development – just the most exciting and (so far) most profitable of its forays into the mobile space. Clearly, Google is positioned to be one of just a few major players in mobile as the revolution continues. As far as mobile advertising goes, Google has barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. You can expect them to make huge advances in the realm of mobile advertising – and billions and billions in mobile ad revenues in the coming years.

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