Mobile phone sub­scrip­tions have grown and con­tin­ue to grow at a stag­ger­ing rate, glob­al­ly.   While low-end “fea­ture phones” con­tin­ue to pen­e­trate devel­op­ing economies, smart­phones (or “high-end” mobile devices), are chang­ing not only the way we com­mu­ni­cate but the def­i­n­i­tion of mobile phones them­selves.  Smart­phones are becom­ing per­son­al devices that offer advanced com­put­ing abil­i­ty and con­nec­tiv­i­ty rather than just a reli­able way to relay a mes­sage.   The first true smart­phone with an oper­at­ing sys­tem was only made wide­ly avail­able in the last decade or so and came with a high price tag of often $500 or more.  With the rel­a­tive­ly recent release of the iphone and Android oper­at­ing sys­tem, how­ev­er, smart­phones have become both wide­ly avail­able as well as afford­able.  This is quick­ly cre­at­ing new oppor­tu­ni­ties for mobile advertising.

Smart­phones have many of the same capa­bil­i­ties (and in some cas­es, like that of Google Gog­gles, even more) as desk­top and lap­top com­put­ers. Users are engag­ing in web brows­ing, an increas­ing amount of mobile apps, videos, games and more.  Phones run­ning com­plete oper­at­ing sys­tems that are portable enough to take just about any­where are actu­al­ly chang­ing the way we search all togeth­er.  They are used increas­ing­ly for local search­es and aid in con­sumer pur­chas­ing deci­sions.  They are almost always on and near­by includ­ing while dri­ving and at restau­rants and stores.  At the cur­rent rate, mobile inter­net usage may equal or even sur­pass desk­top inter­net usage in the com­ing years.

Though still esti­mat­ed to be less than 15% of total search vol­ume, mobile use is expect­ed to con­tin­ue to grow rapid­ly.  Accord­ing to Google, the amount of search­es on phones with full inter­net browsers has increased by 4 times in the last year alone and the amount of peo­ple who own a smart­phone has as much as dou­bled. This offers a tremen­dous oppor­tu­ni­ty for adver­tis­ers to engage users.

There are already sev­er­al ways in which adver­tis­ers can use mobile as a plat­form to reach cus­tomers whether they  want to dri­ve traf­fic to their site, dri­ve traf­fic to their store, receive phone calls or even pro­mote apps or brand aware­ness.  Among these are text and ban­ner ads with­in mobile search and dis­play net­works, rich media ads, mYoutube cam­paigns, click to down­loads, tablet ads and many of the oth­er extras cur­rent­ly made avail­able for desk­top ads (such as click to call, sitelinks, loca­tion exten­sions with mul­ti­ple address­es, sell­er rat­ing exten­sions, and offer ads).  Adver­tis­ers can also ensure that their web­sites are mobile ready by rewrit­ing their page in a mobile markup lan­guage or ensur­ing their desk­top pages ren­der prop­er­ly on mobile screens.

Google recent­ly uploaded a video high­light­ing some of the pos­si­bil­i­ties of mobile search: