Google's big disclosure diversion: Ads on thermostats

Google's big disclosure diversion: Ads on thermostats

Summary: The idea that Google will be serving ads on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses and watches is interesting. Better disclosure on mobile revenue is better.

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TOPICS: Mobility, CXO, Google
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Google doesn't want to disclose revenue on mobile platforms so bad that it would rather have you think about the search giant carpet bombing everyday devices---thermostats, refrigerators and car dashboards---with ads instead.

The big news in tech land is that Google sees ad placements on more devices. The potential for ads everywhere was raised in a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which would like to know Google's revenue on mobile devices.

emarketer mobile

Google's reply, which could be translated to 'hey look over there,' is notable, but merely a distraction in my view. Google said in a letter:

"We would also like to highlight the significant difficulties we see with the practice of breaking out CPCs and paid clicks -- or any performance metric -- by device platform. It is increasingly challenging to define what exactly a 'mobile' platform is from period to period -- and what it will be going forward...In a short period of time, the meaning of 'mobile' at Google has shifted dramatically to 'handset' from “tablet + handset”. We expect the definition of 'mobile' to continue to evolve as more and more “smart” devices gain traction in the market. For example, a few years from now, we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities."

"Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future, and thus our advertising systems are becoming increasingly device-agnostic."

I can't wait to see a mobile refrigerator, but I digress.

In the big picture, I'm going to view Google's response letter with a hefty dose of skepticism. Google doesn't want to disclose revenue and paid click data on mobile platforms because:

  • Search behavior is different on mobile and Google can't monetize the same way. 

  • Google happens to dominates the mobile market with Android and assigning revenue to that platform could be sticky at some point with regulators. 

  • Enhanced campaigns combine mobile and desktop ad systems, but that doesn't work out for all customers---especially ones that would prefer mobile because the rates are better. 

  • Breaking out mobile revenue could begin to illustrate how much Google really owns the ad stack that chief marketing officers need.

In other words, don't get too carried away thinking about ads on your Nest thermostat.

Topics: Mobility, CXO, Google

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10 comments
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  • "Ads on thermostats"...no thank you.

    There is no way in h*ll I will EVER have an Internet connected refrigerator, car dashboard, thermostat, glasses or watch. ESPECIALLY if Google is behind it...but not from anyone else either.

    My phone and computers are enough.
    It'sNotMe
    • that opens lots of opportunities

      like ads for clothes, furnances etc.
      Foss wins again!
      LlNUX Geek
      • Until Honywell ads start showing up

        and out the door goes the NEXT thermostat.

        Not much of a win for FOSS...
        William.Farrel
    • Work at home special report.......................WWW.WORKS23.US

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      Tiredill
  • I'm reminded...

    I'm reminded of the scene in Brazil, where a guy's driving down a highway, and the entire road is flanked, on both sides by billboards. From the camera's vantage point, you can see the mountains and the trees behind the billboards, but the occupants of the car only see billboards.

    This sort of thing is already happening more than we care to admit. For her last birthday I bought my daughter a Kindle, and the e-reader has a pricepoint that is subsidized by ads displayed on the screen when it is turned off. Others have noted that we're staring to see ads in more and more places, like the ads on the handles of gas station pump hoses. Wouldn't surprise me if we start seeing more and more items whose sales price is in part subsidized by ad revenue.
    dsf3g
  • Google is banned in my house.

    Safe than sorry.
    Owl:Net
  • Advertising is NOT Free Speech.

    Never has been, never will be.

    It's just a way to make money, and that should never be
    misconstrued as a Constitutionally guaranteed right.
    JonathanPDX
    • re; Advertising is NOT Free Speech

      Advertising Is Protected by the First Amendment

      http://www.lawpublish.com/amend1.html
      RickLively
    • "Advertising is NOT Free Speech."

      But it IS free apps. That's why people are in love with Goog. Their stuff is free if you don't mind being data mined and ad-bombed.
      Userama
  • I can see it now

    The REAL reason they are working on self driving cars is they want your full attention for the advertisements they'll have in the car. When you get to your destination, you'll walk out of the car a consumerist zombie looking to spend your money on what they have told you to buy.
    happyharry_z