Apple’s iOS mobile operating system has long been the darling of the mobile ad ecosystem. It arguably created the space—at least in its modern form—and is benefits seem to just keep coming.
Between the iPhone and iPad, iOS accounted for 46.53 percent of mobile publishers’ and developers’ traffic during the second quarter and delivered 61.41 percent of those publishers’ mobile ad revenue, according to a study by Opera Software. The browser maker's mobile ad platform serves more than 35 billion mobile ad impressions per month to 9,000-plus mobile publishers and developers worldwide.
Google’s Android mobile operating system trailed iOS with 24.43 percent of traffic and 26.56 percent of revenue. While Opera did not break out numbers between Android smartphones and tablets running the iOS, it did separate them for the iPhone and iPad. The iPhone made up the majority of the iOS numbers with 29.88 percent of traffic and 43.54 percent of revenue whereas the iPad notched 6.86 percent of traffic and 14.26 percent of revenue.
Not surprisingly RIM’s BlackBerry OS flagged at 6.32 percent of traffic and an even worse 1.79 percent of revenue. A bright spot for the black sheep mobile OS? It’s not Windows Phone, which eked out 0.08 percent of traffic and 0.01 percent of revenue.
In addition to bringing returns to mobile publishers as whole, iOS earned publishers on average $2.49 per thousand impressions (eCPM). The iPod Touch seems to bring down iOS’s average since iPhone returns an average $2.85 eCPM and iPad returns an average $3.96 eCPM.
Mahi de Silva, Opera’s evp of consumer mobile, said some of its publisher customers “consistently” sell out 100 percent of their iPad inventory at $100-plus CPM rates. Although not as high as iOS—or that OS’s two main devices—Android delivered publishers an average $2.10 eCPM. For what it’s worth, BlackBerry OS’s average eCPM was $0.64, and Windows Phone’s was $0.20.
Helping publishers’ mobile monetization play, advertisers ratcheted up the number of mobile rich-media ads they run; those units typically cost more than standard mobile banners. In January rich media accounted for 28 percent of Opera publishers’ mobile ads, but took over the majority at 51 percent in June. Mobile video ads also picked up share, rising from 6 percent in January to 13 percent in June.
Standard mobile ads and expandable banners still make up a good sized chunk of mobile ads, but each are on the wane. Standard ads fell from 35-percent share in January to 21 percent in June, and the share for expandable banners was chopped from 31 percent in January to 15 percent in June.
Opera also looked at what types publishers account for the most impressions and most revenue. While business and finance only made up 6 percent of impressions, the segment claimed 30.84 percent of revenue, the highest of any category. On the flip side, social publishers served up the most impressions with 23.67 percent share but only 4.48 percent of revenue. Games had the smallest fluctuation between impression and revenue share at 13.58 percent and 14.67 percent, respectively.
North America was the most valuable region for mobile publishers with 73 percent of global requests. The U.S. in particular earned publishers the most for every thousand impressions, averaging $1.98 eCPM; by comparison the rest of the world averaged $1.57 eCPM.
De Silva said advertisers want to reach the biggest audiences and they have the best luck doing in North America where there’s a larger share of devices and a better means of tracking and measuring users’ interactions with their campaigns.