Android Ties Apple for Mobile Ads in U.S. Market
The amount of U.S. advertising dollars coming from smartphones running Android matched the revenue generated by Apple's iOS for the first time in October. Both platforms had 37 percent of the ad-impression market, according to Millennial Media. Among smartphone vendors, however, Apple continued to lead the field in the U.S. mobile-ad race with a 25 percent share.
Google's Android holds a powerful advantage over Apple since the OS runs on devices from multiple handset makers. On the other hand, the iPhone maker's impressions count received an extra boost last month as Millennial began including ad impressions from non-phone Wi-Fi devices such as Apple's iPod touch and iPad.
Surprisingly, Apple's iPod touch ranked third with a 7.5 percent market share, and the iPad ranked ninth with a 1.5 percent share. "What this says is that app developers should be looking at more than just the mobile phone," said Al Hilwa, director of applications development software at IDC. "They need to focus on the full portfolio of monetization strategies that any mobile platform offers them."
A Boon for Developers
Mobile applications are becoming important platforms for ads that generate revenue for software developers. According to Millennial CFO Michael Avon, mobile apps now represent about 50 percent of the overall monthly impressions and revenue being generated on the mobile-advertising network.
"This just goes to show that the price of the app isn't everything," Hilwa said. "The ad model in the long run is going to dwarf the amount of money being made by developers from the app itself."
Avon observed that the number of apps on the Millennial network has grown more than 600 percent since the mobile-advertising network launched a self-service developer portal in the first quarter.
"The number of applications on our network doubled in the third quarter of this year and the growth rate has accelerated into the fourth quarter," Avon wrote. "We anticipate that the continued proliferation of applications on 'connected devices' is a trend to watch in 2011 and beyond."
Recent trends also indicate that advertisers see value in delivering ads via a mobile app and are willing to pay a premium, Avon noted. "We believe this is a reflection of higher engagement rates in applications, coupled with a higher percentage of rich media and interactive ads in applications," he explained.
Apple's iPad Mojo
Among the top 30 mobile devices generating ad impressions in October, the iPhone led the field with a 16 percent market share, followed by Research In Motion's BlackBerry Curve (7.8 percent). But Apple's red-hot iPad racked up the biggest ad-impressions increase -- a 112 percent rise from the prior month.
Ad-impression requests for Apple devices overall grew a modest 12 percent from September and have increased 32 percent since January. By contrast, ad-impression requests for Android devices grew a robust 65 percent month over month and have risen by 2,182 percent since January, according to Millennium.
Ranking behind Apple with a 17 percent market share, smartphone vendor Samsung experienced the highest growth among smartphone makers in October largely because of the launch of its Vibrant Galaxy S, Samsung Smooth, and Samsung SCH-R451. However, Research In Motion (13.5 percent) also continued to improve its ad-impressions position in the U.S.
"RIM devices represented six of the top 30 mobile devices, with the BlackBerry Curve overtaking the Motorola Droid for the number-two position," explained Millennial Senior Vice President Mack McKelvey in a blog. "RIM ad requests grew 43 percent month over month and have increased 243 percent since January."