Google (s goog) bought AdMob, and Android has been catching on with consumers like a brush fire on a dry midsummer day, but Apple (s aapl) is still holding the reins as far as serving ads to smartphone users goes. That’s according to new data released by Millenial Media, which is now the largest independent mobile ad network.
Millenial used to be number three, but that changed when Google acquired the largest, AdMob, and Apple acquired the second largest, Quattro, which it recently shuttered in favor of its own iAd platform. That means the closest to unbiased numbers regarding mobile ads that we’re likely to get are probably from Millenial.
In July 2010, Apple led the pack with 35 percent of all mobile ad impressions and 55 percent of smartphone ads. Smartphones overall accounted for just about half of all mobile ad impressions, with 49 percent of that pie. Connected devices — including the Nintendo DS and Sony (s sne) PSP among others — accounted for another 19 percent, while feature phones saw only 32 percent of the ads. It’s yet another sign that the dumb phone is on its way out, at least as a viable means of revenue for advertisers.
In the smartphone arena, Apple’s lead is still quite commanding. The next closest platform in term of ad impressions served is Android, and it accounted for only 19 percent of the smartphone share. Next closest was RIM (s rimm), with BlackBerry devices seeing 16 percent of all ads. Finally, Microsoft’s (s msft) Windows Mobile came in a distant fourth with 4 percent. All other platforms combined added up to 6 percent.
The success of Apple’s platform becomes very apparent when you take into consideration how developers are prioritizing ad targeting. Of those targeting multiple platforms, 100 percent are intent on supporting Apple’s iOS. Android is next closest with 75 percent of developers, and RIM is next with only 46 percent. Twenty-nine percent target Symbian, which is still a major player in the Asian market, and 21 percent employ Java. Finally, 17 percent target other platforms, including Windows Mobile.
These numbers reflect the sales success of the iPhone and its various competitors to date, but Android’s ever-expanding reach has the platform poised to takeover that majority share sooner rather than later. I predict a parity between or a reversal of the top two spots, at least in terms of developer support, by this time next year, based on the trajectory of Google’s mobile OS to date and the success of phones like the Droid and its successors.
Related GigaOM Pro Research: Report: The In-App Advertising Landscape