February 10, 2011 | by Michael Heller
Regardless of all the amazing technology and products that Google pushes out, at heart they are still primarily a display ad business. Most of their products are ways to get more people to the Internet, so there are more eyes and clicks on those display ads. In that regard, it looks like Android is already cashing in for Google.
According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Android made up $130 million of Google’s total mobile ad revenue for 2010, which boils down to $5.90 average revenue per user (ARPU). However, Munster added that if we assume an average of 133 million Android users by 2012 the ARPU would jump to $9.85, which adds up to $1.3 billion in ad revenue from Android mobile devices alone.
Of course, none of these numbers even mention that most searches on iPhone are done through Google, and Google also owns AdMob, which displays ads in many iPhone apps. According to Munster, Google’s total arsenal of mobile ads pulled in $1 billion in 2010. So, if the numbers come through, and they do seem pretty plausible, in 2012 Android ads alone will match the full mobile ad revenue from this year. Add that to the cut of the Android Market that Google is pulling in, their “free-to-use” mobile OS is certainly proving to be one of the best acquisitions that Google ever made.