Click To Call: Android Monetization To The Rescue!


keyboard with search buttonSince Android’s birth, analysts and critics have continually asked how Google will monetize Android. Will they charge partners money in order to use Android? Are there licensing fees? Do they intend to make money from the App Market?

The Google team has always responded by explaining Android’s purpose is simply to grow the mobile web as a whole while leveling the playing field across the board. The idea is if the mobile web wins, Google wins. And while that’s greatly oversimplifying the situation… it still rings true. And even more so now:

Google recently sent out a message to Adwords advertisers that their advertisements will begin to display as “click to call” ads on mobile phones.

Google sent out notification to its AdWords advertisers that this month “your location-specific business phone number will display alongside your destination url in ads that appear on high-end mobile devices. Users will be able to click-to-call your business just as easily as they click to visit your website. You’ll be charged for clicks to call, same as you are for clicks to visit your website.”

This is such an obvious integration and I think this will become a HUGE revenue stream for Google in the coming years. With voice activated Google searches, Google Navigation, Google Maps, Places Directory and other awesome Google services coming on such a wide range of Android phones, they stand to gain A LOT.

It will be interesting to see what new metrics Google introduces as this “Pay Per Call” scenario seems much different on a mobile vs. desktop experience. What about click/touchscreen fraud or misclicks? Will users be able to evaluate what percentage of clicks actually initiate a phone call? How about the length of the phone call depending on keywords or referring sources?

Your first inclination would probably be to say “that’s impossible”… but what if said phones were also making calls using Google Voice? Displaying Click To Call advertisements is a HUGE step in the right direction for Google, but this is just where the fun begins. We’ll see a much deeper and tighter integration of advertisements in coming months/years.

Oh… and that 100% free ad-supported phone everyone likes to speculate about? It’s safe to say that Google would need to justify the cost with estimated revenue per handset. The deeper the mobile ad experience the more likely that is to happen. With location aware devices and determination of patterns/preferences, Google could offer advertising that is truly useful to consumers who see them.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. I don’t how google is making money off companies but I do know how their trying to make money off consumers. Not me. If your pissed at google and tmobile and feel burned by unfair way selling to exsiting customers(trying to charge us $529 for the phone). Sign the petion to let tmobile and google know we don’t appreciate it.

  2. I think that one reason why Google didn’t go with making the NexusOne free, is that every time Google comes out with a newer, better, free (or cheap) phone everyone will want to upgrade. How can they subsidize the phone by basing the revenue over some time frame if that occurs. Google can get the money back in advertisements from the phone if the user keeps the phone for a certain amount of time, but not if they keep upgrading every time the newer one comes out. I think they would require the user to keep the phone for some amount of time before upgrading. Any ideas?

  3. sweeeeet

  4. but i don’t think most would mind if they at least brought cost down to what new customers would be paying – $180. coolMANDINGO, among other long-time tmobile customers, are being shafted and they have every right to question google/tmo’s pricing decision on the matter. product loyalty is, unfortunately, turning out to be a very one-sided relationship.

  5. If money makes the world go round, why has google not impoved the Google Market again…. :|

  6. I agree. I would like to get the Unsubsidized version for around the same price as the subsidized one, but how can Google account for it. I am just curious as to how it could be done. Maybe they could start it with some sort of upgrade plan where the the user pays a certain fee based on how often they want to upgrade their phone to the latest. Or have the user trade in their existing Google phone and/or pay the difference that Google would make if the user kept it longer.

  7. Umm. You guys are rediculous? Its called making money and being exclusive. Did you guys sign a petition when the iPhone came out too? All high end phones are that price without a contact (note the reasonable price with T-Mobile ) wait for it to come out on Verizon and other carriers in the spring (whicwas announced ) and stop complaining and live your life

  8. @andrew… that’s the problem google wants me to either pay $529 for unlocked or 180 for a brand new line(possibly).yeah its true I’m thinking of leaving tmobile and that’s my right.I have had them for 7 years but come on.tell me I shoudlnt feel mad that I don’t have the same oppurtunity to get it at a fair price. But whatever…

  9. So what’s the issue w/ existing customers not getting a deal? That’s always the case, isn’t it? Doesn’t every company have something similar to a NE2? If I hadn’t satisfied my contract, I wouldn’t have been able to upgrade to the Droid. As the account holder on 5 lines, I was able to upgrade, but everyone else has to wait. It does kinda stink, but I understand it.

  10. @cool…

    um, yeah i am in total agreement with you. i think you are being given the shaft when you are willing to extend your contract for the subsidized price

  11. Hawkins is right, what a bunch of whiners. Either put out the money add a line or upgrade your plan and you will get the phone. There is nothing different that is being done than any other phone or carrier, besides being sold on Google. Petition?!?! Friggin Idiot!

  12. I’m so sick of you people whining about the price of the phone and T-Mobile.

    It demonstrates 2 very important things.
    1) You have no idea how your current plan works.
    2) You fail to see that you can save money by buying a phone up front.

  13. Just buy the phone and save on tissues, cry babies :)

    Best, unlimited TM plan is $80/mo which includes calls, sms, data – WITHOUT a contract ! if you buy the phone at $525+ tax ~ $570 (its cost me) you 1st year expense is 960+570=1530. If you buy iPHone on ATT or Droid on Verizon its 300 (cost of phone) + 150/mo~1800yr = $2100 /1st year AND YOU”RE STUCK WITH CONTRACT. So, this year I’ll save $570 – cost of another Nexus :) and I”m free to pick & choose new phones or other providers.

  14. 1. Online petitions are a joke. Literally.

    2. Google is a business, not a charity. Deal with it.

  15. According to the Nexus One site ( existing TMo customer can upgrade for $179, which is just slightly higher than what I paid when I bought the G1. Why are people whining so much? Did you know that the original price tag on the iPhone was higher than the Nexus One? The original iPhone cost $600.

    People want everything for free without understanding the corporate repercussions of doing something like that. Stop whining and creating/signing petitions – upgrade for $179, buy it for $529 or WAIT till you’re eligible for an upgrade. I know waiting sucks but since when are we little kids? “Waa! I want it NOW!” Grow up, pony up the cash or wait till you can upgrade and STFU.

  16. @Katzumi
    Why so much aggression? Did your mother not breastfeed you enough when you were a baby?

  17. To the whiners — you have lots o’ choices. If you think a phone and/or service costs too much, don’t buy it. Build your own phone and erect your own towers. Or use two tin cans and a piece of string … or try smoke signals.

  18. Man….Google is doing… big things…they seem to always be up to something. Dandy

  19. I like how this article is about how Google will capitalize on mobile ads with all mobile phones with web access, and the comments turned into price bitching about the Nexus One. Stop being whiny bitches in articles not even being related to the story…

    Anyway, mobile ads have been available the last few months for purchase and creation. I think the cost per call feature is fine, considering that it only makes things easier for the user to call the business. It’s no different than the cost per click model Google employs today, especially since most Firefox users “Ad-Block.”

    As for the ad supported phone? I’d be shocked if it ever comes out, as HamilSt pointed out, cause consumers will do whatever it takes to scam out for another phone. They could essentially upgrade the phone, then sell it somewhere to another country for $500 a set. Google often lives in its own utopia and believe that everyone is good natured, this will change when they produce more physical products to add to their vast services portfolio.

  20. But how about this click to call Ads being offered by Google on some mobile phones? You mean they don’t charge this companies license fees? Yeah, it do sound suspicious on the part of Google. Maybe they’re going to milk the consumers instead.

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