Apple’s iAd vs. Google’s AdMob: will iAd kill AdMob?

Apple’s tent poles for iPhone OS 4 looked somewhat aimed at getting back markets in which 3rd parties have been filling the role so far: one of these is iAds. The dominating platform for mobile ads is currently AdMob, which provides a complete platform for advertising on mobile devices through web sites and mobile apps with CPM (impressions) and CPC (clicks) models. AdMob has been acquired by Google after the talks with Apple stalled for some unknown reason. Apple ended up acquiring Quattro Wireless.

Steve Jobs has presented iAds as a way to monetize free iPhone Apps by integrating interstitial, multimedia reach, interactive ads developed using HTML 5 technologies, much like the recently added iTunes LP for music and iTunes Extras for movies.

The typical AdMob ad is a 320×44 pixels area with a colored background, a small icon and 2 lines of text on it. The ad will then open a web link in a webview within the application or in a dedicated app, depending if it is a web page or an app store link.

While the basic technology offered by AdMob and Apple can look a lot alike, creating ads for the new iAds platform is going to be a more demanding task, and the platform itself isn’t following the typical Google model. Let me explain: Google AdWords and AdMob are virtually open to everyone in the world. You determine your own budget and you can start a campaign with as little as 100 bucks. Of corse, that won’t bring you very far but you can still do it. In addition to that, the company also offer higher profile advertising.

According to The Wall Street Journal, instead, Apple’s iAd mobile advertising platform will come at a much higher cost than the $100,000 to $200,000 companies pay with existing mobile deals. While those who wish to be a part of the iAd launch could pay as much as $10 million to be first in the door, Apple reportedly aims to charge close to $1 million for ads on its mobile devices this year.

In addition to the high cost, Apple also seeks to have greater control over advertisers’ marketing campaigns. “Despite the high price, ad executives at agencies from Boston to New York and San Francisco to Los Angeles have crowded into conference rooms in recent weeks to listen to the tech company’s pitch for iAd,” the Journal wrote.

Bottom line: Google’s AdMob and iAds have different targets and can serve different customers. What remains to be seen is what developers will decide to integrate in their own app.

It might be a difficult choice to make initially, and in this AdWhirl will come in handy: the AdWhirl framework, now part of the AdMob offer allows developers to integrate several ads networks within the same application, and manage the percentage of impressions to assign to every network from a web interface (without the need of releasing a new version of the app). AdWhirl is now an AdMob network and Apple’s iAds support has already been announced.