Friday, January 18, 2008

New Year, New Blog

Hey Folks,

Just wanted to let everyone know we've moved the AdMob blog to a new URL:

blog.admob.com

RSS Feed: blog.admob.com/feed/

Come check out the sleek new design! We'll be posting all future blog entries there, so update your RSS reader and browser bookmarks accordingly!

Thanks,

AdMob

Monday, December 10, 2007

AdMob Across The Pacific

I'm pretty excited about our latest site update. For the first time ever, our site is available in another language. The AdMob network has long had traffic from all over the world (around 160 countries), but it has taken a bit of work to get our UI into a state which makes for easy internationalization.

Today we got there, so for our first trick: AdMob in Japanese!

And don't worry, we have more languages on the way shortly.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Making Google Mobile Search Work for Your Site

Google has made changes to their mobile search. Although many of the improvements are laudable, it also has created some difficulities for mobile specific sites. Users now see both mobile web and desktop web results when searching using their mobile device, all within the same set of search results. Google identifies sites it thinks are intended for desktop viewing and sends those URLs through the Google Wireless Transcoder (GWT) to transcode them for mobile, rather than linking directly to the website. Examples of transcoded desktop sites can be seen by searching in http://www.google.com/m. The transcoded sites can be identified by looking at the link URL, as they are prefixed with http://www.google.com/gwt/n? .

This can result in these difficulties for mobile site owners:
  • If your site has both a desktop representation and a mobile representation, you would want Google to rank the mobile representation higher than the transcoded desktop representation in mobile search results. This is not always the case. Users may be directed to the transcoded version of your desktop site, which may not provide the user experience you intended.
  • Sometimes Google will mistakenly think your mobile site is intended for desktop use, and will send your mobile site through the GWT. Given that your mobile site is already designed for mobile use, this may negatively impact the user experience and potentially break functionality such as targeting or billing using the phone's User-Agent or IP address.

Understandably, many in the mobile web community are concerned about the impact of Google's practice of transcoding desktop sites * . Fortunately, there is a simple fix to make Google mobile search work for you. I think it is useful to share this with everyone who operates a mobile site. Here is the recipe:

Put this tag in the <head> section of all the pages in your site, whether intended for desktop use or mobile:

<link rel="alternate" type="text/html" media="handheld" href="http://example.mobi/" title="Mobile/PDA">

replace http://example.mobi/ with your page’s URL. When you have both a desktop and mobile version of your site, using this link tag tells the Google Wireless Transcoder to redirect the user to the mobile version.

Let me illustrate this with an example. Our site, TapTap, has implemented the link tag. When you search for "TapTap" on http://www.google.com/m , you will see several results. At the time of writing, the first result goes to http://taptap.net/ , the desktop version of our home page, sent through the GWT. By putting the link tag in our desktop page, we are able to send users on the phone to our mobile version at http://m.taptap.net/ , instead of having Google transcode our desktop page, which are less useful for users on the phone.

Lower in the search results, you can see our mobile site. Unfortunately, Google misidentifies our mobile site as being for desktop use and sends it through the GWT http://www.google.com/gwt/n?u=http%3A%2F%2Fm.taptap.net%2F . By implementing the link tag in our mobile page at http://m.taptap.net/ , we are able to tell the GWT not to transcode the page, sending users directly to http://m.taptap.net/ as desired.

Note that this may not alter the ranking of your site in Google's index. This is simply a way to tell the GWT to send the user directly to your mobile content, regardless of your ranking.

What to put in the href is also important. If possible, you should put the URL of the mobile equivalent of the current page, or put the URL of the current page if the page is designed for mobile. If you always put the front page of your mobile site in the link tag, it may prevent users from reaching their desired page directly from the Google search results.

We hope this is useful for you.

* Nadir Garouche from SEO Principle has a detailed blog post about Google's decision here . Dennis from WAP Review has also chimed in . There are some reports of difficulties in various mailing lists, such as this one .

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Data Goodness - AdMob Mobile Metrics October

We love data. Data is the fuel that powers AdMob's targeting and monetization. We work hard to collect and store the information provided by networks and browsers. AdMob has built proprietary techniques for determining device capabilities while maintaining anonymity and strict privacy. We use the data from every ad request, impression and click to optimize ad matching. We love data.

Recently, we began sharing some of this data for use by the AdMob community with our AdMob Mobile Metrics report. Yesterday we posted the data from October - you can download the free report here. Among other things, the report shows handset share by country. We were interested to see dramatic movement in the share of the iPhone in the US (0.4% in September to 0.9% in October). Next month, we should be able to gauge the ramp of iPhone browser usage in Europe.

We hope the data will help with optimization of mobile content and ad campaigns. Please let us know what other data we can include that would further help with visibility around the mobile ecosystem. You can subscribe to receive future reports and send us feedback at metrics@admob.com.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Built anything for Facebook Mobile?

Folks at AdMob get excited about open platforms and slick mobile websites, so naturally we loved Facebook's recent decision to extend their developer platform to mobile (you can check out Facebook from your phone at m.facebook.com). It's a great decision, and one that will spur more innovation as developers build mobile apps for the Facebook community.

This morning, we announced AdMob's mobile advertising solution for Facebook, making it easy to monetize any Facebook mobile app. We're also sharing code for a sample application called AdMob Footprints (based on the original Footprints app) showing how to build a mobile app. Check it out here: admob.com/facebook.

Let us know if you have any questions or feedback. We can't wait to see what you're working on.

- Donnie and Mike

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lunch 2.0 Event Invitation

Join the AdMob Team for Lunch 2.0 and Halloween treats! Come find out how we are changing the mobile industry through engineering innovation. Founder, CEO and former Engineer Omar Hamoui will give a brief presentation about AdMob.

Event Details

Directions

See you there!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

time to share some data

I'm excited to report that after much work and lots of internal debate, we've decided to publicly share some of the interesting mobile internet usage data we gather every day. Today we're launching the AdMob Mobile Metrics program which entails the monthly release of a free report on the global activity we are seeing.

Our first report covers both country and handset/manufacturer data as well as some specifics on handset capability. We expect to expand the report to include more axes of information in the coming months.

You can find more details and the report here.

Special thanks to AdMob marketing and Mike "I will launch a whole program for your company during my summer internship" Fyall for all the hard work.