Mobile Advertising Is At A Turning Point, With Google, Apple And The FTC Determining The Future

Mobile Advertising Is At A Turning Point, With Google, Apple And The FTC Determining The FutureFor those centered in the mobile advertising game, the next few months could prove to be very interesting.  With big moves planned by Apple, Google still waiting in limbo with its AdMob purchase and the FTC waiting in the wings to rain on the parade, things could get tricky.

The first big move was Google’s purchase of AdMob, which is now under intense scrutiny by the FTC for anti-competitive issues, even though it seems Apple will soon have a leg up with the introduction of its so-called “iAd” mobile advertising platform.  What’s interesting is that Google is pushing hard for Apple to debut its plans, in hopes that it will get the FTC off its back by proving that Google is in no way set to dominate the mobile ad space.

In some ways, Apple’s plans with Quattro Wireless are more anti-competitive in nature than Google’s plans with AdMob- only because Apple dominates the mobile apps business at the moment.  By making it easy to implement its own advertising by way of its development SDK for iPhones/iPods and now the iPad, Apple can effectively lock-out (without formally doing so) all other competing ad-networks.

Google, on the other hand, has no such plans and even promotes openness through its mobile initiatives.  The only problem in the eyes of competitors and the FTC is Google’s reigning dominance in Online advertising, which many fear will trickle down to its mobile ad business as well, even though AdMob first specialized in iPhone-centric ad-units, go figure.

Even so-called competitors are starting to let the FTC know that there’s really nothing to worry about with Google’s purposed intentions with AdMob.  4INFO, a leading SMS marketing company, even sent a letter directly to the FTC stating that it sees no problem with the acquisition and that it actually promotes competition instead of hindering it.

The truth is that mobile advertising has many components and is at the beginning of what’s to come.  One company will have a hard time dominating every single aspect of mobile advertising.  While Google may lead the pack is mobile display advertising, Apple will likely lead in mobile app monetization and companies like 4INFO and others will continue to dominate SMS monetization.  The playing field is still relatively level at the moment, but it hinges greatly on whatever Apple has planned with iAd, which is set to be announced later this week.

The evolution of mobile advertising is far from complete, and though the big guys are controlling the space at the moment, the little guys still have massive potential to make names for themselves.  Whatever the case may be, the next few months should prove very interesting.