Google's Android and Apple's iOS remained tied for the top spot in U.S. mobile advertising in November, with both platforms holding 38 percent ad-impression shares, according to Millennial Media. Among mobile gadgets, however, Apple led the field last month with a 25.5 percent share, based on the number of ad impressions delivered to the iPhone (14.78 percent), iPod touch (8.96 percent) and iPad (1.76 percent).
Although Android and iOS were tied on ad impressions, Android apps beat Apple's offerings last month, Millennial said. The company monitors the largest mobile-media audience for brand advertisers in the United States. Android represented 54 percent of Millennial's application platform mix, followed by Apple at 39 percent.
Android has been "averaging 10 percent growth month over month for the past four consecutive months," noted Millennial Senior Vice President Mack McKelvey.
Steady, Solid Growth
Although the mobile-advertising market is starting from a very small base, it has been showing solid growth, according to ABI Research. About one-third of the smartphone owners the research firm polled this year said they had clicked on at least one mobile advertisement.
"There was a shift starting at the end of last year from the pioneering phase to what we might call the 'early growth phase,'" noted ABI Practice Director Neil Strother. "By now, probably 20 percent of all major companies have done something with mobile marketing, and some of them are doing so repeatedly."
Spending on mobile ads accelerated with the arrival of the autumn back-to-school season and year-end holidays and is expected to approach $1 billion for all of 2010, according to ABI. "Today's mobile campaigns can cost $100,000 or more, and annual budgets may run to several million dollars," Strother said.
And smartphones are not the only targets advertisers have in mind. Though 58 percent of the mobile devices serving up ad impressions via Millennial in November were smartphones, feature phones and so-called "connected devices" without cell-phone capabilities collectively "represented 42 percent of impressions in November," McKelvey wrote in a blog.
Among mobile-device makers, Samsung continued to be Apple's single biggest rival in November. "Samsung held the number-two position on our top 15 manufacturers list and had the highest number of devices in our top 30 mobile-device rankings," McKelvey noted.
Motorola maintained the number-three position for the second consecutive month and held a 15 percent impression share. Mobile devices from Research In Motion had a combined 11 percent share, Millennial added.
The New App Platforms
Looking ahead to next year, a joint survey by Digiday, Stifel Nicolaus, and Millennial shows Android's 29 percent share leading the field among the app platforms that publishers and developers plan to target. Windows Phone 7 was tied for second place with the iPad at 20 percent, followed by RIM's BlackBerry OS (12 percent), and Apple's iPhone (8 percent).
"Developers create applications to meet a market need and in anticipation of consumer demand, and the apps that will help them make the most money via in-app advertising or paid apps are the ones where many place their bets," noted Millennial Director of Marketing Dani Cushion. "Developers see more and more consumers purchasing devices that run on those platforms and plan to develop apps that will meet this increased consumer demand, thus making them more money."
From an advertiser perspective, it's important to keep in mind that consumers will increasingly be accessing mobile content via numerous devices, operating systems, and carriers, Cushion noted. "Not all consumers own an iPhone, or even a smartphone," Cushion said. "The advertisers who understand that a cross-platform play will help them best target and reach their audience at scale are the most successful."