Google bets on location-based mobile coupons as linchpin for success

Intro: A Google executive at the Netbiscuits Partner Day said that his company’s mobile strategy is focused on location-based services, with local mobile advertising and mobile coupons particular points of emphasis.

Key Points:

  • “People who switched to smartphones searched 50 times more than when they had a feature phone—a huge spike,” said Mike Steib, director of emerging platforms at Google, Mountain View, CA.
  • “Device adoption is accelerating, and people have the expectation of new, flashy [mobile devices] that come in a cool box more than ever in the history of the world.” As an example, he cited the number of days it took various Apple products to reach 1 million units sold: it took the iPod more than a year in 2001, the original iPhone 74 days in 2007, the iPad 28 days this year and the iPhone 4 just three days, also this year.
  • Google is getting into mobile local advertising in a big way, and it is betting on the growth of location-targeted mobile coupons for both nationwide retailers and local mom-and-pop shops.
  • “If you search for something and the result is nearby, the click-through rates are astronomically higher.”
  • Mobile-coupon spending is projected to reach $1 billion by 2011, per Google.
  • “The Holy Grail for local advertising is location-targeted coupons, and we’re building Google Offers to enable that, as well as click-to-call functionality for nearby businesses,” Mr. Steib said. “If you have the ability to reach out to consumers nearby and pull them in using mobile, it’s great for consumers and advertisers.” One challenge facing Google is the fact that it does not currently have many local listings or local businesses advertising on its platforms. However, it is a big priority for the company.

My Take: No big secrets revealed but a few feelings confirmed. If you want to play a role in hyperlocal advertising and/or couponing, expect tough competition from Google!


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