On Friday, AdWeek reported that Google was creating and testing specialized ad units for full HTML mobile browsers, such as Safari on the iPhone. The idea is that the iPhone’s Safari browser (or Android, Skyfire, Opera) would be detected and alternative ads, and landing pages or iPhone optimized sites, would be substituted for conventional mobile (or transcoded) sites.
Here’s the AdWeek example of how it might work:
American Airlines could use the new Google option to change a search ad from a call to action to click to one driving a phone call to reservations. Or the ad could highlight the airline’s iPhone-optimized site for booking flights.
AOL’s Third Screen Media did something similar to this previously, optimizing display ad units for the iPhone’s Safari browser. Mobile ad network AdMob also has special ad units for the iPhone.
I asked Google on Friday for a comment about the AdWeek story. Here’s what the company said:
As part of our ongoing commitment to help advertisers more effectively reach their target audience, Google is currently testing a feature that gives advertisers more control over how their ads will appear on mobile devices with full Internet browsers, like the iPhone. This feature is currently in a limited beta with a small number of advertisers.
Separately, several sources over the weekend revealed the numbers behind the G1′s reported pre-sale sell out: a massive 1.5 million units apparently. This indicates heavy demand for the highly anticipated phone, which will ship next week. My guess is that other US carriers are already accelerating development of their own Android phones based on this early success.