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The Hole in Google’s Mobile Strategy, Part Two

Google’s supremacy in mobile ads has slipped. While the online advertising giant still takes in more money from mobile ads than any other company, selling some $15 billion this year by some estimates, its share of mobile graphical and video ads is falling. Rival Facebook has pulled ahead and now captures around three times as much revenue as Google from mobile graphical and video ads in markets like the U.S. (Part one of our report on Google’s mobile challenges is here.)

One reason behind that may be Google’s outlier policies on ad-targeting.

Today, for internal policy reasons and fear of regulators, Google still doesn’t blend the data it has about people who use its different products and partner sites, and it may be losing out on revenues as a result. While Google still dominates search-advertising sales on smartphones, the prices it can charge for ads appearing on those devices have been receding for years, in part because people make purchases, or “convert,” on other devices after seeing the ads. Google doesn’t have a good way of proving that its ads led to the purchase. Several people inside Google say they are increasingly concerned about the company’s glaring disadvantages in tracking the conversion of its ads.

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