Who says publishers aren?t making money on mobile Web?

By Andy Miller

The news this week that Google is acquiring mobile ad network AdMob has added to the industry buzz about the current state of mobile revenues and if  there is a ?best? platform for making money on mobile advertising for publishers ? selling advertising on mobile Web sites or creating an advertising-supported application? 

As reported Monday by Bloomberg, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said his company?s purchase of AdMob will expand sales of ads that appear in applications on smartphones such as the iPhone. He also noted that application monetization is ?as strategic as search monetization? to the company.

Also, Tom Limongello of Crisp Wireless in an article yesterday on Mobile Marketer (see story) stated his view that ?there is no solution out there making enough money today for publishers on mobile to make them happy participants in the industry,? noting that Conde Nast removed its content from the mobile Web to focus solely on applications.

Other articles have addressed the views of a few publishers that CPMs on the mobile Web are dropping precipitously, with the blame put on mobile ad networks.

It might seem that answer has been found ? if you want to make money in mobile, you need to have an application. But is that the whole story?

What about mobile Web?
Reading the trades, one might think that no one is making money today selling ads on the mobile Web. 

However, if you talk to some of the premium publishers that have made investments in their mobile Web properties, you will find that they have been quietly building thriving businesses with significant revenue streams.

Most of these premium publishers are not seeing CPMs dropping, because they offer advertisers both the context and the opportunities that drive an effective return on their investment.

For example, Hachette Media (full disclosure: a Quattro Wireless client whose properties include Car & Driver, Elle and Premier), is consistently sold out at high CPM rates. 

Many sites are able to garner higher CPMs for their mobile Web inventory than for their online Web inventory, due to the more targeted nature of the medium ?location, anyone? ? and the more engaged consumers they provide to advertisers, with average click rates eight times that of online ads, and five times the purchase intent.

So, do I have to choose?
The real story is that publishers are making money across mobile ? in applications, on the Web ? and the same criteria for revenue success apply to both avenues.

Premium content, unique opportunities and an engaged audience are all valuable to advertisers. Media sellers who can deliver brand impact and conversions across the mobile platform will be successful.

Advertisers which value targeting and rich experiences will pay a higher CPM across the mobile Web and in applications, and also garner higher click-through rates. 

Everything is in place today for publisher success across the mobile Web and with applications ? sophisticated ad management and ad serving, precise audience targeting and rich and innovated ad units.

More advertisers daily are discovering the power of the medium and creating a standard line item for mobile in their marketing budgets. 

Andy Miller is CEO of Quattro Wireless, Waltham, MA. Reach him at .