Media & Entertainment

Google’s U.S. Mobile Head Talks Local Intent, M-Commerce, Geo-Targeting And More

Comment

Mobile advertising is a booming business, and Google, armed with its $750 million purchase of AdMob, clearly wants a piece of that pie. One angle Google has been pushing late is the combination of local and mobile, whether that be through Places, Offers, Sites, and soon, Google Wallet. Jason Spero, Google’s head of mobile for the Americas sat down with us to give us a little more insight to how the search giant is looking to capitalize on advertising, local and mobile.

One of the major factors Google is looking at when it comes to developing its own mobile offerings and products is consumer behavior, says Spero. He says one in three interactions on a mobile phone has local intent, and because of this, Google is incorporating this behavior into its own mobile products for businesses. “Part of this strategy is giving users the build a mobile property that works on a phone or tablet,” explains Spero.

Included in this strategy is the mobile version of Google Sites, which the company just launched as a way for small businesses to create a simple mobile landing page for free. Via these lightweight mobile sites, users post information and even include click-to-call features. After a week of availability, over 3,500 mobile landing pages had been created by small businesses.

One interesting feature that Mobile Sites offers is the ability to actually sell products via the landing page with Google Checkout as a payments platform. Spero says that’s a reflection of the Google belief that m-commerce is going to be critical on phones. But it’s not has simple has just clicking the buy button. It’s also integrating comparison shopping on the phone, click-to-call functionality, and online search for stores. “Ultimately, the experience that a user wants on their phone is delivering all those pieces to the puzzle,” he adds.

Another way Google is investing in m-commerce, says Spero, is though its Google Wallet initiative, which will allow consumers to pay for items via an NFC chip in a phone and an NFC reader at the merchant’s checkout.

In terms of local advertising, Spero says that Google is exploring ways of using ad formats to move customers in the physical world, or via a transaction. Click-to-call ads are a particular focus for Google, and Spero says that these ads perform well on phones because the natural path for a consumer is to want to engage the phone and get more info from a merchant or service. The key in these advertisements on mobile phones is a ‘call to action’ element, which can work for a retailer, florist, insurance company and many other smaller businesses. So far, he says that over 500,000 Google customers are running click-to-call campaigns on a mobile phone. In terms of other forms of mobile advertising, Spero says that because of traffic to the web on mobile phones is exploding, display environment growth is ‘astounding.’

Of course geo-targeting is also a key component of mobile advertising, and integrating the location of a user could to improve targeting and perhaps CTRs. Spero says the demand for geo-targeted ads from advertisers on the local, regional and national level is huge, and that basically businesses in all these categories are competing. Today, Google can target advertising by state, and digital metro area, but soon the search giant wants to be able to target by city of zipcode (Google is only using a visitor’s local information if the user gives permission).

It’s clear from talking to Spero that Google wants to be a one-stop shop for businesses, both large and small, to engage with mobile. Whether that be through offers (which Spero doesn’t consider advertising), payments, mobile ads, mobile sites, mobile analytics and more, Google wants to be the go-to destination. The vision, as he explains, is for Google to be able to help these businesses manage everything, through the killer combination of local, mobile, commerce and advertising.

But quantity of products doesn’t necessarily come hand in hand with quality, and Google will have to make sure that these offering across segments not only work together, but also provide value for businesses (and consumers).

More TechCrunch

Tags

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

6 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?