Millennial Media found that Android ad revenue has, for the first time ever, beaten iPhone ad revenue on the company's ad network.Mobile ad company
According to its September "Mobile Mix" report, Android is the second-largest device on its network, and has been since July 2010. Since that time, Android has increased its share of impressions 2% month-over-month and is now at 29%. In comparison, Apple's iOS platform, in the top spot, accounts for 46% of impressions. That makes the news that Android ads generated more revenue last month even more startling.
Another factoid served up by the new report: Android ad requests have grown 1,283% since January. RIM ad requests have grown 143% (assumedly because new Blackberry OS devices finally have a usable browser?). But Apple ad requests have only grown 18%. What these numbers point to is Android's rapid growth this year. Although the OS may not have the raw mobile ad impression numbers of its iOS counterpart on Millennial's network, it has been coming online with the company in increasingly large numbers.
Of course, the biggest the news today is the ad revenue. How is that Android ads generated more revenue with less impressions? In fact, All Things D's Peter Kafta raised an eyebrow at Millennial's data this morning, especially given what he says is the "seemingly contradictory chart" which shows Apple devices generate "significantly more ad impressions than Android phones."
Yes, that does seem odd.
Except for one thing: the chart is looking at "iOS" devices, which means iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch combined, while the data point about ad revenue is comparing just iPhone to Android. And the iPhone only makes up 19.28% of Millennial's network. So maybe it's not as odd as you would first think?
Kafta also notes that Millennial Media is a small ad network so this doesn't point to a larger trend as it doesn't take into account other ad dollars like those coming from Apple's iAds or Google Search revenue. That's true, too.
Why Did This Happen?
However, no matter how small the data point, it seems interesting that with less impressions, Android ads are generating more revenue even on a small network like this. Let's say this isn't bad or "junk" data, but instead ask the real question here: why? Are Android users just more prone to clicking...err...tapping on ads? Are Android apps more likely to lead to "accidental" ad clicks through poor design? Are iPhone users somehow more savvy when it comes to avoiding ads? Are there simply more ads in the top Android apps (which are also more likely to be free and ad-supported than paid)? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Update: Here's Why
Millennial's Michael Avon shared his thoughts on why this occurred on the company blog. Here's what he said:
"One of our key observations was the continued growth of Android Smartphones on our network. Though we've predicted that Android would eventually overtake iPhone in revenue, we didn't anticipate it to happen this soon. In September, Android revenue exceeded iPhone-only revenue. However, impressions from iOS still outpace Android impressions. So how is it that Android could see fewer impressions, but come out ahead in revenue? Here are a few reasons:
Devices versus operating systems - We are only comparing iPhone and Android devices, not operating systems. iOS includes not only iPhone, but also iPad and iPod Touch. Currently, Android only consists of Smartphones on our network. Of course, as Android-powered tablets and other consumer electronic devices hit the marketplace in the near future, that will certainly change.
Less inventory coupled with soaring demand - We saw higher average fill rates, click-through rates and prices on Android applications and mobile web inventory than on iPhone inventory last month. Why? We believe this occurred because there are fewer applications available on Android than on iPhone (though the gap is narrowing), and the mix of applications available on Android is still different than the mix on iPhone. This means less inventory to meet current advertiser demand, resulting in higher fill rates and prices.
Reaching a diverse set of Smartphone buyers - Many Android users are often first-time Smartphone buyers. We believe some advertisers are paying a premium to reach those users early in their Smartphone experience. Our advertisers have also shared that Android allows them to reach a diverse set of consumers across all major carriers, making the platform highly desirable and increasing demand for the platform. When we consider all of these elements together, it helps us see how Android overtook the iPhone on a revenue basis on our network in September. With more advertiser demand per each available impression on Android, it resulted in more revenue per impression.
Does all of this mean that iOS growth is slowing in our network? Not at all. In fact, iPad revenue in our network grew 316% during the third quarter of this year and impressions and revenue from iPhone and iPod Touch continue to grow at a steady rate. But the story isn't only about Android and Apple. RIM impressions and revenue continued to grow in September as well, particularly on the newer Blackberry devices. And we expect Windows Phone 7 will capture share in this market when it launches in the near term."