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A future that's spammed by ads wherever we go

By Jules Quartly (China Daily)

08:56, August 29, 2012

Follow the money and it's easy to see where the future leads: mobile advertising. Though it's rarely appreciated, if it wasn't for advertising, publishers would not be rushing online and the Web would likely resemble what it was originally conceived to be: A tool primarily for academics and militaries.

Whether we're talking apps or traditional publishing ventures, like news portals, blogs or websites, ads are what primarily make them profitable. And I would add that mobile advertising is in an analogous position to Internet advertising a decade ago, when everyone knew where the future lay but all the talk was about how hard it was to make money from the business. Then, Google started making billions.

It wasn't from the "sexy" business of search, per se, rather it was from following the basics of advertising and acknowledging the almost divine power of algorithms and "Big Data". Google came up with AdSense for publishers and AdWords for advertisers, creating an industry standard.

In the world's leading market, the United States, 2012 is shaping up to be the first time that advertisers will spend more on Internet advertising than print advertising, according to a report from global market intelligence firm IDC.

As has been said many times before, the writing is on the wall for print and advertisers have recognized this by migrating in search of consumers - who are all online. This entails major growth in mobile advertising platforms, which are splurging out on advertising and tech companies to broaden their capabilities and reach.

In China, total revenue from Internet advertising in 2011 was 51.19 billion yuan ($8 billion), according to iResearch, surpassing print advertising and second only to TV ads. This was up a huge 57.3 percent on 2010 and the forecast for 2013 is a rounded-up 100 billion yuan.

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