Google “Read Data” Offer Rare Look Inside World Of Android, Mobile Ad Revenues

Yesterday The Verge published internal Google data about Android and mobile ad revenues. They offer a fascinating window into Google’s projections and expectations for the platform and mobile in general. These data are the first “real numbers” that have been exposed about Android and mobile ad performance at Google — beyond the $2.5 billion “run rate” figure exposed last year on a Google earnings call.

Data Dump Involuntary

The data were produced during testimony at the Google-Oracle trial over Google’s unlicensed use of Java and potential patent violations. The data were compiled in Q1 2010, but reflect Google’s mobile revenue expectations through 2013.

As Google pointed out in a statement to The Verge, these data are from a point in time and in several respects are no longer accurate. In some ways Android has dramatically exceeded Google’s expectations (overall unit sales) and in other areas (e.g., tablets) Android has underperformed.

Android Smartphone Sales Beat, While Tablets Disappoint

As the chart below reveals, Google expected Android to have 30 percent of the smartphone market by 2013. It also expected to have 33 percent of the tablet market last year. As it turns out the smartphone projections were low and the tablet share estimates were obviously high.

Here are some additional data reflected in the slides:

  • Android users were conducting 2.65 searches per day per device
  • Google expected $9.83 in annual Android advertising revenue per Android device in the market
  • Total mobile revenue in 2009 was $16.8 million
  • Google set a goal of $626 million in overall mobile revenue for 2010 but expected to fall short by $348 million (based on revenue momentum in Q1 2010)
  • In 2012 Google projected $840 overall mobile revenue (which has already been exceeded)
  • App sale revenues were not expected to be meaningful for Google
  • Apple (iOS) was/is Google’s number one revenue source in mobile

Reflected in the pie chart above (created by me based on Google estimates), Google anticipated that the majority of mobile ad revenue would be from paid search, followed by in-app advertising and finally AdSense for mobile in 2010.

In fact, mobile paid search is the majority ad revenue category for Google. And I would imagine on a “directional” basis the distribution between in-app and mobile web display ad revenue reflected above is correct and Google is getting more from in-app display ads than from the mobile web.

Mobile Query Volume: 30 or 60 per Month?

Google estimated its paid search revenue based on an expected 1.1 queries per day per mobile device. That would obviously translate into 33 mobile search queries per month. However above Google seems to be saying that its smartphone users were generating  2.65 actual queries per day per device in 2010. That would translate into more than 60 mobile search queries per month.

According to survey data from several sources that 60-query per month figure seems high. While there’s a minority of users (say 10 to 15 percent) who search more than 30 times per month, most users conduct fewer than 30 mobile search queries per month.

Regardless, these data give journalists and analysts valuable information against which to assess the accuracy of their forecasts and mobile ad models. And it gives us a rare, unauthorized glimpse into Google’s internal thinking and expectations around mobile.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile Marketing | Google | Google: Mobile | Mobile Marketing | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Marketing Day:

Get the top marketing stories daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • shreyasm89

    Very informative post. Since in-app advertising seems to be gaining steam, how do you design ads for them? Does in-app advertising also work on a pay per click basis? Having seen those ads myself, personally I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket, as thoae ads are sometimes downright irrelevant, and act as an irritant. Think about the user. If I’m playing an awesome game on my Android, the last thing I want is a distracting popup on top of my screen. So the chances of me clicking on that ad are pretty less. Also, my guess is that Google must be paying a fixed amount to app developers. If I were an app developer, I don’t care if the user clicks on the ad or not. Just the fact that allowing ads as an overlay over my app UI is enough for me to charge Google.

  • Decent Mopla

    Thanks for the article “Google “Read Data” Offer Rare Look Inside World Of Android, Mobile Ad Revenues”


  • Greg Sterling

    Yes, in-app ads work like conventional display ads on the mobile web. They can be sold on a CPM, CPC or CPA basis depending on the network or the publisher

  • Rustavrus Rus

    Excellent! currently being tested at their xperia

  • elva smith

    for showing up such fabulous information. I like this post, keep writing and
    give informative post…!

    Flex printing


  • Shane Glass

    The Android tablet sales may be sluggish because of Apple vs Samsung lawsuit in Germany. Australia only introduced the Samsung tablet recently because of a lawsuit.

  • Hm Adnan
  • Shreyas Mulgund

    Thank you so much Greg. It helps a lot.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!