In the final quarter of 2012, Android nudged out iOS as the mobile operating system driving most ad impressions, but iOS still delivers more revenue to mobile content publishers, according to a report released today by Opera.
In the last quarter, with heavy sales of the Samsung Galaxy S III phone, Android had a two-percentage-point edge over iOS in market share of total ad impressions. Ad impressions refer to the number of ads served to users.
Still, iOS led the pack with the highest ad cost and the most revenue delivered to content publishers. The OS accounted for more than half of the quarterly revenue on Opera’s ad network.
Revenue drives business decisions, as software developers determine whether to build for Android or iOS operating systems.
Social apps and websites accounted for 15.5 percent of impressions in the quarter, but just about 7 percent of revenue, meaning that ads there cost less than they do in other types of content. For instance, arts and entertainment apps and websites accounted for just about 7 percent of the ads served, but about 18 percent of mobile ad revenue generated by Opera’s platform.
Social media has also ceased to be the most popular content in which to place advertising: Music and video drove the most ad impressions in the fourth quarter.
Opera, the largest global mobile advertising platform, also noted that North American dominance in smartphone use is falling off. In the third quarter of 2012, North American users triggered 70 percent of requests to servers to deliver ads on mobile content; in the fourth quarter, its share fell to 64 percent. Russia’s share of users is ballooning, though users in Indonesia and the UK still account for more ad impressions.