Rapidly shedding market share to the surging mobile ad players of our time, Google is eager to bolster the power and scope of its weakening mobile advertising empire.
While Google and its Admob platform remain firmly entrenched among the powerhouses of modern mobile advertising, there are cracks forming beneath the weight of new giants on the same landscape — Facebook, Yahoo, and an array of red-hot ad networks like Airpush that are delivering big results for advertisers and even bigger paydays for mobile app developers.
So what’s Google to do? According to published reports coming to light over the last 24 hours, Google may acquire InMobi, one of the biggest names in mobile advertising today.
“Google Inc. is in talks to buy Bangalore-based mobile advertising venture InMobi, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, which could pave the way for what could be the U.S. company’s first deal in India’s busy start-up space,” Reuters later reported Wednesday.
The 8 year old ad network presently reaches some 1 billion users across 200 countries. According to some estimates, InMobi could fetch as much as $1 billion from Google.
Although some mobile advertising experts and market watchers believe Google has much to gain by acquiring InMobi, it may still not solve one of Google’s biggest problems — a lack of innovation in the mobile ad arena.
“Two years ago,” says tech blogger and advertising consultant Ian Hayes, “smart ad platforms started exploring the ad formats of tomorrow” (Hayes cites Facebook’s introduction of native mobile ads to its ad network and Airpush’s acquisition of Hubbl to lay the groundwork for a native mobile ad offering).
“Only last week at MWC did Google finally launch native ads and they’re still in beta,” Hayes says. “So with more platforms helping developers make better money today, Google really needs to bring its tools and resources up to speed to get devs making more money and give advertisers better ROI. Can InMobi help in that regard? Possibly. But it doesn’t solve all of Google’s mobile advertising problems.”