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Google on Wednesday unveiled a beta version of its AdSense advertising partner program for mobile applications on Apple's iPhone and Android phones.
AdSense for Mobile Applications allows developers to integrate AdSense network ads into their mobile applications and to allow advertisers to bid for placement in their apps. Previously, Google AdSense ads showed up only on Web pages rendered by mobile phone browsers.
"[A]dvertisers are looking for ways to reach potential customers when they are engaged with mobile content, and application developers are looking for ways to show the best ads to their users," Google VP of product management Susan Wojcicki said in a blog post. "We have already had a successful trial of this service with a small number of partners, and are excited that we can now offer this solution to a broader group."
In a YouTube video produced by Google, Howard Steinberg, director of business development at Urbanspoon, one of the companies in Google's closed service trial, said that his company chose to work with Google to deliver ads that are targeted by keyword and geography, and to enhance the application.
"What we seek, and the reason we've chosen to partner with Google, is to insert ads that users will see as helpful," he said. "The quality and the relevance are essential."
Google isn't the first to venture into this space, though it's certainly the most well-known company trying to turn mobile advertising into a viable revenue stream for mobile application developers. Other contenders in this arena include AdMob, Medialets, Pinch Media, and PurpleTalk.
Those who will benefit from Google's entry into the space are likely to be developers with extremely popular applications. According to Pinch Media, a mobile analytics company, only the most high-performing mobile applications -- less than 5% -- are suitable for advertising right now because mobile ad revenue rates can't yet compete with paid app revenue.
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