Apple gets all the press when it comes to mobile ads, but Google is poised to be the 800-lb. gorilla of the market.
It took another step toward knitting together the largest mobile ad network today by integrating its enormous pool of Google AdSense ads with the AdMob mobile network. It means when AdMob can't fill an ad for one of its 20,000 mobile publishers -- its fill rates can be from 70-99 percent -- it will show an AdSense text or click-to-call listing.
Google bought AdMob a year ago, but it could only start integrating it once the deal closed at the end of May. By the end of next year, Google hopes to have a single mobile network, according to Jason Spero, director of mobile for the Americas at Google.
"The belief is the access point may be a phone, it may be a tablet, it may be desktop," he said. "That's the long-term vision. It doesn't happen overnight."
Google's integration suffered a hiccup last week with the departure of AdMob founder Omar Hamoui. Google paid $750 million for AdMob.
Google is banking on the breadth of its ad options, from high-impact placements for brands to simple text listing for direct response, to give it a leg up on Apple, which is targeting the high end of the market. The problem with such an approach can be low fill rates for publishers. Jesse Grosjean, a mobile developer, tweeted yesterday that he's seeing fill rates of 5 percent for iAd.
"[IAd] is a targeted niche play at the top of the market for a brand advertiser trying to drive awareness, the folks who buy the Super Bowl ad," said Spero. "That competes with part of our business. The hard work is being able to deliver an ad anytime anyone asks for one. We believe this is a direct response ecosystem as well."
Developers with ad filters set up will need to opt in to receive AdSense placements. All others will need to opt out if they don't want the ads used.