updated 06:44 pm EST, Wed January 22, 2014
Combined Android generates slightly more traffic, not as effective
In a new study of global mobile advertising, Opera Mediaworks has found that Apple's iOS continues to maintain its lead over Android both in terms of effectiveness and revenue earned. Despite having only three currently-available models against well over 400 Android smartphones and tablets, the study found that iOS accounts for more traffic overall, and more importantly had a significant lead in revenue as well.
The overall results, which include tablets, had Apple's iOS devices accounting for 43.39 percent of mobile ad traffic versus the Android total of 37.71 percent. For revenue, iOS increased its lead, generating 55.7 percent all mobile ad revenue versus just 31.73 percent on Android. Somewhat ironically, a lot of the ad revenue generated on iOS was created by Google's ad network. In previous quarters, it has been noted that Google generated as much or more revenue from iOS advertising than it did from its own platform, though the growth of Android devices may make this no longer true.
When focusing only on the more-competitive arena of smartphones, the iOS lead shrinks and falters. For the fourth calendar quarter of the year that was the focus of the Opera study, Android had more ad traffic than the iPhone, 35.82 percent to 28.72 percent. Nevertheless, the iPhone alone still managed to trump Android in revenue, 40 percent to 30 percent.
For tablets, as would be expected, iOS was the runaway winner. The iPad accounted for 10.59 percent of mobile ad traffic compared to the combined Android tablet percentage of 1.86 percent, and took 12.7 percent of revenue compared to Android's 1.67 percent. Advertising studies are considered to be a much more reliable indicator of actual end-user sales and usage compared to "shipment" data provided by most equipment manufacturers other than Apple, and continue to indicate that the Android platform does well in the various classes of smartphone but disastrously when it comes to tablets.
The US continues to be by far the most important country for ad traffic, generating 70 percent of mobile ad revenue, even as the country's share of global ad traffic dropped slightly to 48.64 percent. Increases in other countries, particularly South America, more than offset the US drop, creating an overall 52 percent rise in mobile ad traffic worldwide.