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In Q4 Android phones drove more mobile ad impressions than iPhone for 1st time ever

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In the world of mobile advertising, Android(s GOOG) phones reached a significant milestone during the fourth quarter of 2012: they drove more mobile advertising impressions than iPhones during a quarter, for the first time ever. That’s according to a report published Thursday morning by Opera Mediaworks, the mobile ad tracking arm of Opera Mobile. Still, the findings show that highest volume still isn’t translating to the highest value for advertisers.

Android phones represented 31 percent of the more than 500 million mobile ad impressions tracked by Opera between October and December across more than 12,000 mobile websites and apps. iPhones,(s AAPL) meanwhile, had a 29 percent share of those impressions. Major reasons for Android taking the lead include: the popularity of Android devices in markets where users are more likely to access the internet on a mobile device — like Indonesia and Russian Federation countries, which saw double-digit gains in ad impressions during the quarter — and Samsung’s rapidly growing popularity among smartphone buyers in the U.S.

“In the U.S. we think that this is considerably helped by the emergence of Samsung and the Galaxy S III,” Mahi De Silva, EVP of Opera’s consumer mobile division, said in an interview. “They’re pouring a lot of dollars into the market, and they have favorable pricing with mobile operators, so that entire market has a lot of momentum [toward] adoption of Samsung Android devices.”

Earlier this week we reported that Apple just barely outsold Samsung in the U.S. mobile phone sales during the fourth quarter, but Samsung sold nearly 7 million more devices during all of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.

Opera Mobile Q4 ad impressions
Source: Opera Media Works

iPhones are just one piece of the pie, however. When counting iOS’s overall impact, including mobile ads seen on iPod touches and iPads, Opera found that Apple’s devices still represent the largest overall number of impressions, about 42 percent.

And where it really counts — producing revenue for mobile advertisers — iOS is still comfortably in the lead.

“Even though you saw that for the first time Android phones have a larger volume of impressions, the dollars associated is still considerably in favor of Apple and iOS and iPhones,” De Silva said.

iPhones are responsible for 37 percent of the revenue made by mobile advertisers, versus about 30 percent from Android; and just over half of all revenues in the quarter came from some type of iOS device. So in terms of the ability to monetize, De Silva says iOS is still the more attractive platform for advertisers.

Android has a ways to go to catch up in revenue. And even though the platform is only going to grow and add more users, it’s not clear the monetization will catch up nearly as fast, he said. “The trend, as we’ve seen in the past, is iPhone continues to be the most monetization-friendly platform out there.”


7 Responses to “In Q4 Android phones drove more mobile ad impressions than iPhone for 1st time ever”

  1. Aaron Mahl

    If we’re going to make the car comparison, let’s look at the most important factors to consider when buying a car (vanity aside): is it reliable? is it safe? is it fuel efficient? will we get our money’s worth out of it? Basically, the question is, will the vehicle we’re considering buying be “effective” in all the things we want from a an automobile? Now, switch the discussion to mobile advertising. Developers and advertisers may be flocking to Android because the platform is becoming more effective than iOS when it comes to mobile ad effectiveness, which = more money. This is something Android devs like myself have been seeing for some time now. That could explain why Android ad networks like Airpush are exploding overnight. That may also explain why Android is securing a bigger piece of the global mobile ad pie. And I don’t think the growth is going to slow down anytime soon, especially since the hottest young developers and ad networks are focusing on Android like crazy.

  2. Phones are like cars these days. There’s a status symbol element because it’s something so visible to others whenever we go out of our homes. Sure, any woman can buy a $10 handbag at Walmart, but they all yearn for the Coach or Louis Vuitton. I’m sure you have some of these luxury items yourself for the cachet. That’s human nature. It’s called branding. Premium products will always earn premium margins, while the Hyundais and Android phone makers of the world target the low-to-middle income groups. I’m sorry if flunked Marketing 101. I know a woman who just bought Hyundai’s top-of-the-line Equus sedan for $60,000. Still, everyone said, “She couldn’t afford a BMW or Mercedes.”

  3. eldernorm

    So you get more advertising on Android but more buying on iPhone……

    If I were advertising, I know where I would focus my attention…….. and it aint market share. /s

  4. Apple makes the highest-quality products. Sure, some people think a Hyundai resembles a BMW, but rich, smart people aren’t fooled by the cheap Korean imitations. Another study recently said that iOS users make on average over $100,000 a year, while Samsung users make $0-30,000 a year. Advertisers know that Android users still mostly use cheap $50 Android phones running 3 year-old Android 2.3 Gingerbread like the most popular Android phone in the U.S., the $50 Samsung Galaxy Prevail from Boost Mobile. You’d need 40-50 such low-income users to generate the same advertising revenue as a single iOS user.

    • According to Google’s own Google Play store statistics, budget Android 2.3 Gingerbread phones make up 50% of all current Android devices in use, while Android 4.1-4.2 Jelly Bean makes up 10%. Google’s so-called dominant market share, upon closer inspection, is a profitless splendor consisting of low-to-middle income people who bought an Android phone simply because it was the cheapest they could find. Such price-sensitive consumers are the least likely to click on online ads or engage in e-commerce in general. They are the lowest value targets for advertisers, while iOS users will remain the top because, like the poor, the rich will always be with us.

      • Major PITA

        zipper0-Thank you for so kindly categorizing me and my spending habits. Your carefully thought out logic and skillful articulation will no doubt serve as a shining beacon of wisdom to all who may enter this hallowed portal. They will read your words and in low whispers to one another they will proclaim you to be – a complete dick.

        I know a lot of people who use iPhones. While it is true that some buy the latest greatest and own cases that match their outfits and as many apps as they can understand, many do not. I know just as many students and young working adults who own one who can’t afford much else besides their iPhones, monthly phone-bills, and rent. Many of the latter are still using(gasp) iPhone 4 and 4s models. I know several older adults who only bought an iPhone because they wanted a smartphone and weren’t tech-savvy. Ask them what apps they use and their eyes glaze over. Ask them if they make purchases through their phones and they say – can you do that?

        A recent article on Verizon’s 2012 4th quarter said that for the first time the top-tier iPhone – in this case the i5 made up less than half the sales. The bulk of the iPhone sales were the 4 and 4s due to deep discounting on those models.

        As for me, I’m an Android user. I own several Android devices and typically buy upper-line phones. I’m currently using a Nexus and running Android 4.2.2 on it. My income isn’t 100k a year, but I still manage to point and click my way through several on-line purchases a month.

        I know that on your planet anyone who has an iPhone drives either a BMW or a Mercedes and simply has to travel first class to avoid brushing up against the common folk. I do so admire how well you chaps are holding up considering the recent discovery that your atmosphere has such a debilitating lack of oxygen.