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Google gobbles HALF of world's mobile ad cash

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Over half the $8.8 billion dollars advertisers spent on mobile ads last year went to Google, along with a third of all internet ads.

The $4.61bn Google raked in from mobile ads that year represented 52.36 percent of the total worldwide spend, eMarketer reported on Thursday, putting the search company far ahead of rivals such as Facebook, Twitter, and mobile ad specialist Millenial Media. Google is expected to increase its share of the growing market to 55.97 percent in 2013.

"Combined, three companies – Google, Facebook and Twitter – account for a consolidating share of mobile advertising revenues worldwide, as other players, such as YP, Pandora, Apple and Millennial Media, see their shares decrease, despite maintaining relatively strong businesses growing at rapid rates," the company wrote in a statement outlining the figures.

The transition to mobile advertising is upending the consumer internet companies as they all try to extract cash out of on-the-go ad-averse people. Failing to correctly monetize mobile poses a grave and present threat to these companies, as Zynga found when its failure to cream money off of mobes caused it to lay off 18 per cent of its workforce.

But mobile advertising is a drop in the proverbial ocean of online advertising, which was worth $104.04bn in 2012. Here Google also remains the king, with the search company taking a 31.46 per cent share of all revenues compared with Facebook's 4.11 per cent and Yahoo's 3.37 per cent.

That equates to total 2012 ad revenues for Google of $32.73bn, according to eMarketer. This compares with total revenues by the Chocolate Factory of $50.175bn, according to its annual report – though this is distorted by the acquisition of Motorala Mobility. By comparison, Amazon is projected to have made $600m in ads last year, and Facebook $4.28 billion.

As we've said, this dominance by Google of online ads has a major effect on the global economy, as the ad-slingers massive revenues subsidize a host of free services that ultimately distort the industries it operates in, such as webmail.

It also directly affects users, as ad-monetized companies such as Google and Facebook have an overwhelming incentive to slurp as much data on their users as possible – a chilling occurrence, given the NSA's fondness for that data via alleged data-gathering schemes like PRISM.

eMarketer figures put the total ad spend worldwide across all media as $502.98bn in 2012, with digital ads representing a fifth of that figure and Google almost a third of that. Put another way, Google represents around 6.2 percent of all spending globally on ads across all media.

But for all the money Google is raking in, the effectiveness of ads on the search giant and other platforms is doubtful. Recent research commissioned by Adobe found that people in Europe and North America were "dismissive" of online advertising, with 32 per cent of them not finding it "effective". ®

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