Blog Post

Even Without Tablets, Android Ad Impressions Up 996%

Advertising impressions on the iPhone are flat, while those on Android handsets are up 7 percent on a month-to-month basis, and overall impressions on phones running Google’s mobile platform have increased a hefty 996 percent since January of this year. However, in contrast to its handsets, Apple’s iPad (s aapl) is gaining in popularity: The tablet witnessed a 76 percent increase in ad requests in the past 30 days, as a larger display provides more opportunity for larger, more dynamic advertising. This data for the month of August was published this morning by Millenial Media, a privately held, mobile ad network based in Baltimore, Md.

The ad impression growth on Android (s goog) phones underscores the increasing number of Android handsets sold compared to those of other platforms. Just last month, U.S. sales of Android smartphones first surpassed those sold by Apple and then BlackBerry’s sales (s rimm) soon after. Advertisers know this, and are shifting dollars to the platform with more momentum for a better return on investment. If they weren’t doing so, they’d simply be throwing dollars at the iPhone, which has been, and remains, the top handset for total ad impressions on the Millenial Media network: The iPhone took the top spot in September of 2009 and, as of last month, accounts for 29 percent of all ad impressions on the network.

Surprisingly, only three of the top 20 devices in the Millenial report are from HTC. Given that HTC likely makes the widest range of Android device — an effort that has helped the company’s profits immensely — I would have expected to see better representation in the top 20. Instead, the HTC Droid Incredible is number six followed by the HTC MyTouch Magic (no. 9) and HTC Hero (no. 20). The latter two devices are relatively old compared to the newer, top-selling HTC EVO 4G, which is notably absent. Even more surprising is the appearance of the Palm Pre (s hpq), holding the eleventh overall spot for ad impressions last month. Millenial Media says that HTC accounts for 4.52 percent of all devices it tracks on its network, while Palm has only a quarter of that in market share: 1.06 percent of devices on the Millenial network are from Palm. With just two devices — the Pre and Pixi — advertisers may find it easier to target Palm users than seeking out HTC users across its vast array of handsets.

As long as Android handset sales continue to trend up, advertising dollars are likely to follow, but it would be foolish to ignore the opportunity provided by larger display devices such as the iPad. Indeed, with yesterday’s introduction of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, I anticipate Research In Motion to appear higher on future reports from Millenial after the device ships. Of course, there are Android tablets coming soon, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, so Google’s platform may continue its momentum. Perhaps by this time next year, tablets will usurp the top advertising spots away from smartphones in the Millenial Media reports.

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9 Responses to “Even Without Tablets, Android Ad Impressions Up 996%”

  1. The mobile ad business war just started and Apple currently is winning in a tiny skirmish. The $60 million that was committed to iAds by some advertisers gave Apple a bump in the mobile ad market, but in the ad business, Google is a master, raking in $7 billion a quarter in ad revenue. More advertisers drop out of iAds as control freak Apple keep sticking their nose in the ad creative process. Apple should stick to making overhyped, overprice trinkets for its fanbois.

  2. Veggiedude

    You can’t make comparisons to Mac vs PC. In that war, MS made money on every pc sold, as did Apple. Today, Google makes money on ads. They make nothing on the Android phones. They indirectly make money on the searches from mobile devices, and as such, they currently make more money from iPhone than Android. Apple is going into Google’s market with iAds, and currently winning that war. If Apple wants to maintain it’s lead, they should develop iAds for Android. Then we’ll see a real war begin!

  3. Android tablets are just getting started, as Froyo, according to Google, isn’t even optimized for tablets. By the way, Archos Android tablets does not come with a contract. The onslaught of the Android Army continues. It’s the Windows vs Mac all over again. This time, it’s Google’s turn to kick Apple’s butt

  4. veggiedude

    Stephen, you got it all wrong. It is the Android tablets that are locking people into contracts with the carriers. The Samsung Galaxy will cost you $1000 over two years – far more than the cost of any iPad. And if another Android tablet comes out in that time – too bad, you are locked in and can’t buy it.

    iPad does not come with a contract – so far it is the only ‘tablet’ that doesn’t and it appears no rival will match it on that front. It is strictly pay as you go. Eventually, Apple will be on other carriers, but only if they agree not to lock customers into a contract.

  5. Could it be because more people are willing actually purchase iOS apps? And more developers on Android need the ads to make any money? Given the sheer number of apps downloaded from the AppStore vs. everyone else, this doesn’t bode well for Android when ads are driving revenue growth towards that of iOS. This means that almost all apps downloaded and used on Android are free, ad-driven apps. If I was a developer, I’d definitely be targeting the user base that was willing to pay for my hard work.

    @Stephen: Apple isn’t looking for global domination, they never have. They’ve always looked for ways to make highly technical products simple for users to use.

    And furthermore, there is nothing wrong with proprietary platforms, as long as they support open standard content and formats, which Apple fully embraces. There is nothing arrogant in wanting to control your own products. Apple is a hardware company that is capable of developing its own OS, not a hardware company that needs to rely on some “open”, licensed OS.

    You’re assumption that we’ve past proprietary platforms is completely false given current trends; Samsung has Bada and HP has webOS.

    And for people to call Android a completely open system is just ignorant. Any company that wants to use the Android name, has to pass the Open Handset Alliance quality assurance tests and comply with their regulations. Furthermore, any carrier or handset maker can completely restrict the OS, locking out unauthorized apps and forcing you to use their services.

  6. Stephen McDonald

    Apples arrogance has cost them “global domination”. We’re past proprietary and closed garden technologies.
    Great products and execution to date. But, slowly slipping away.

    I’ve had the iPhone, awesome!
    I’ve considered the iPad but don’t want to be locked into AT&T or the App Store, so I’m waiting until Q1 to purchase an Android pad from any number of box manufactures.