Alphabet’s plan to catch up with Facebook on Mobile Ads
Alphabet Inc. has turned its attention on its mobile app as it looks to battle Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) for the attention of online consumers. The move comes on the company posting a deeper than expected decline in quarterly profits, as revenues from costs-per click declined by double digits.
The search giant appears to have borrowed a leaf out of Facebook’s playbook as it looks to attract more users to its mobile app.
Facebook boasts of a user base of more than 2 billion people, a milestone that no other app has been able to replicate. While Google might have given up on catching up on its fiercest rival with Google+, confidence is growing that it can strengthen its ads business by aping most of the features on offer in its mobile app.
Facebook has deployed its mobile strategy with great success, allowing it to shrug off the threat posed by other emerging networking apps, Snapchat in particular.
Mobile App Revamp
A revamp of Google’s mobile app has made it look more of a news feed and similar to Facebook’s networking app. By tweaking the way information is presented in the mobile app, Google hopes to make it easier for users to access information from sports scores, to showbiz and news headlines.
However, the big play in deploying the News Feed strategy is to make the ‘feed’ an extension of Google search, where people can get whatever information they are looking for, without having to use a web browser.
The technology company has updated the app to include content from more sources. A touch of a button is the only thing that Google’s mobile app users will need to follow an event, look for eateries or be able to get information on the weather. Information generated from these operations should help Google tailor search results and in return offer better information that advertisers can use for advertising campaigns.
Google has also rolled out ‘SOS’ alerts that will deliver emergency information to users using its Map app and search apps. The idea here is to make sure that users gain access to whatever information they are looking for without having to open another app. The new feature comes three years after Facebook unveiled its own ‘Safety’ feature that lets users check up on their friends and family in case of a natural disaster or emergency.
The tech giant has also started to push notifications to users of its Gmail application advising them to start using its mobile application. Facebook employed the same strategy to get more of its users to sign up and start using its photo sharing app Instagram.
Access to more information should come in handy in helping Google rival Facebook which continues to call the shots when it comes to mobile advertising. The giant social network has been successful on this front on the fact that it has detailed information about users based on their likes and preferences in their accounts.
Declining PC Searches
Google’s mobile revamp underscores growing fear that people are no longer turning to web browsers to search for things online. Social networks have become powerful tools for information, given that millions of people spend a good chunk of their time online in them.
Making the search experience dynamic is Google’s core objective as it looks to safeguard one of its most important operations. While the number of people searching for items using its search tools has not dropped, the amount of revenue that the company generates whenever a user clicks an add appears to be on the decline.
Cost per click dropped by 23% in the second quarter a steep decline compared to analysts’ expectations of a 15% decline. In contrast, Facebook registered a 24% increase in the average price that advertisers pay whenever a user clicks their ads. The company mobile ad sales were up by 53% helped by a robust mobile strategy.
Facebook enjoys a competitive edge over Google when it comes to the mobile ads business, based on the fact that it can fit ads in between status updates, news articles, and home videos. However, it appears the search giant is doing all it can to change the landscape as advertisers turn their attention to mobile platforms.
The fact that YouTube boasts of 1.5 billion users compared to Facebook 2 billion users leaves the tech giant with no option other than revamping its mobile strategy to attract more ads revenues on the mobile front.
Facebook and Google should continue to call the shots when it comes to online advertising for the foreseeable future. Video content will be an area that promises to be the next battle ground as the race for ads revenue heats up. Google has a competitive edge on this front, since it owns YouTube. However, Facebook may use its massive user base to turn the tables around.
With more people searching for things online with mobile devices compared to PCs should put more pressure on Google to update its core search products. The fact that the use of mobile devices is only expected to continue growing leaves Google with no option other than to pursue growth through the aping of features on its mobile app.
The tech giant is thus expected to continue exploring new ways of engaging with mobile users as a way of supplementing any revenue generated from operations on the PC front.
Google might have given up on catching up Facebook when it comes to social networking. However, it is not expected to let its fiercest rival walk on top of it when it comes to pursuing opportunities on the advertising front. Backed by a massive cash balance the tech giant should be able to come up with new ways of strengthening its position on the mobile front having made a name for itself on the PC front.