Here’s how Google can boost the mobile ad market

Above: Brendon Kraham, left, director of emerging ad sales and product strategy at Google, speaks to Omar Hamoui, a partner at Sequoia Capital, at VentureBeat's Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Calif., on April 15.

SAUSALITO, Calif. — Google doesn’t know everything about the world, but it does know this: Some companies don’t buy mobile ads in bulk. Not yet, at least.

Googlers have come up with some good ideas about how to make ad buyers more comfortable with mobile platforms. And no, they don’t involve slashing prices, as Google has been doing with cloud-based file storage and public cloud infrastructure for running web applications.

Google’s ideas about mobile advertising are more product-oriented — and they could have the effect of dissuading marketers from the idea that mobile ads don’t perform as well as desktop ads.

“There are multiple paths to purchase that happen as a result of us being mobile consumers that we’re not tracking and measuring today,” Brendon Kraham, director of emerging ad sales and product strategy at Google, said today at VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit conference. And Google wants to provide companies with tools for thinking about attribution in a different way, Kraham said.

For starters, companies need the ability to easily track and measure ads inside of mobile apps and connect those ads back to certain keywords, said Kraham, who was senior director of ad sales at AdMob, which Google bought in 2009.

Companies also need visibility into the role mobile plays into purchases, from one device to another. And they need to be able to see purchases that happen when people actually enter physical stores. “We have some products that are able to do that,” Kraham told Omar Hamoui, a partner at Sequoia Capital and AdMob’s founder.

Ad buyers can also connect a click-to-call feature to a mobile ad. That’s especially true for travel, finance, and insurance, because people sitting in call centers are great at closing people, Kraham said.

“Sometimes the conversion path on a mobile device — filling out a five-page form for buying auto insurance — is really hard,” he said.

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