Android engagement paradox again? Opera says Android ad impressions growing, but more engagement from iOS

by: J. Angelo RacomaFebruary 10, 2013

Opera Android engagement

It’s the Android engagement paradox once again, folks. Remember how analysts once got puzzled with why Android has been on the rise in terms of numbers, but stagnant in terms of user engagement? Well, the phenomenon has manifested once again, this time in advertising, according to Opera.

In Opera’s State of Mobile Advertising report, the browser maker found that Android led all other platforms in terms of growth in advertising reach in the 4th quarter of 2012. In a total of 50 billion monthly ad impressions across 12,000 websites and apps in its advertising program, Android accounted for the highest growth in the number of impressions. However, iOS brings in more engagement, such as users that click on mobile ads, as well as conversions or actual sales directly resulting from these ads.

“When it comes to monetization, iOS continues to outperform other device platforms. It leads the group with the highest average eCPM and provides the greatest percentage of publisher revenue,” Opera explained in its report. Android gets 31% of traffic and 30% of revenues. iOS gets about 42% of mobile device traffic, but dominates earnings with 51% of the revenue earned. The iPhone itself gets 37% of income from Opera’s ad network.

In terms of traffic share, though Android devices trump the iPhone, but the iPhone still gives the most monetary returns compared to other platforms.

Opera Android engagement 2

Here are a few notable observations, shared by The Next Web.

  • Opera considers this quarter an important one for statistics, as it includes the 2012 holiday season.
  • The growth signifies an increased usage of “more sophisticated devices,” which include the Samsung Galaxy S3 (which accounts for 9% of all Android traffic). This might dispel the thinking that the Android engagement paradox is due to the mass proliferation of inexpensive and poor-performing Android devices, which heavily dilute the mobile browsing experience.
  • Opera is popular in emerging markets in Asia and Africa, given its data-saving feature as among the platform’s highlights (adding to the fact that Opera offers browsers for non-smartphone platforms, too).
  • Opera has 229 million mobile browser users around the world, and ad revenues from North America has dropped from 70% in Q3 2012 to 64% in Q4 2012. However, this may not necessarily mean a nominal decrease in use from North America, but rather an accelerated expansion internationally.

Again, there is question on how to explain this so-called paradox in which Android devices are on the rise, but iOS still retains the top spot when it comes to monetization and conversions. Is iOS more of a marketer’s dream, in that iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users are more likely to click on ads, make e-commerce purchases and spend money online than Android users? Are Android users necessarily out for free content and apps, and not so keen on paying for purchases online?

  • Mārtiņš Belte

    I probably am wrong, but since I like dissing Apple then I’ll say it.

    Often ads use cheap tricks and visualizations in order to be clicked. Clever, smart or just experienced web-surfer knows this and usually would avoid clicking any if not disable them completely. The more of a commoner and fool you are, the more likely you are to fall for advertisements and the more you are like that, the more likely you are going to follow the ‘expensive quality brand’ hype and choose an iPhone/iPad/etc..
    We have plenty of fools around the globe and I believe the majority of smartphone fools belongs to Apple.

    Probably not true, but what the hell.

    • MasterMuffin

      I’ve found my long lost brother :O

    • I think that is an excellent point actually. People who buy an iPhone or iPad, many of whom do so just because they couldn’t be bothered to research other options like Android, WP, Blackberry etc. These are also the people most likely to be unaware of adblocking plugins or apps, and indeed most other matters related to technology.

    • kascollet

      That’s a point, but wouldn’t the “experienced web-surfers” be the ones that surf the most ? How can iOS data-consumers be so dumb when they actually use their browser much more than the others ? Something’s wrong here.

      • Zeals

        Well iOS ownership isn’t diluted by budget phones, on mobiles plans with limited or no mobile data. Which accounts for the relatively low % in traffic, despite holding a significantly larger market share.

        As for the % of revenue, I guess Android power-users are more world weary and are less likely to click adverts compared to iOS. There are also ways to block ads on Android, which I assume is more difficult to do on iOS.

        However, playing Devil’s Advocate, and reflecting the opinions of many iWolves out there; which I personally don’t believe. Android users only pick their phones because they are cheap and can’t afford an Apple product. While Apple users have too much money to spend so might as well indulge themselves in things such as the ShamWoW.

        Although it does bring up the point, Apple users have more money then sense?

    • Gabe Newell

      Buy Half Life 2!

    • Michael Lee

      When I used iOS, I used to accidentally click ads all the time. Those darn small screens!

  • Bruce Gavin Ward

    what’s the big mystery; iPhone buyers are obviously not that discerning; they will buy ‘anything’! [in agreement with Martins Belte – sorry no acents.]

  • My wife likes her iPhone because it’s simple, but she hates how ads always seem to be placed or pop up in popular apps. Like one of her games the ad is placed so when you swipe down it is clicked. So she has start using my phone to play games due to the screen is bigger and the ads aren’t in the way.

  • Its called “ad aware”… That is all

  • “Other”here is reffered to Windows Phone which android is afraid of even to mention.

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      Yeah, especially considering the image wasn’t even made by AA and, rather, Opera itself! Ignorant much?

      • Michael Lee

        And, what if Other is just Windows Phone and other Android devices that don’t have a identifiable user agent mixed?

  • It’s hard to follow. And I don’t think these numbers mean all that much. Take direction from developers, many of whom will tell you they are making more money from ads on Android than they use to and in some cases more than iOS. We know mobile advertising (regardless of the nuanced fragment of the market we’re analyzing at any given moment) is heating up on Android. Android ad network Airpush doubled in size every quarter last year. Those are exaggerated or misinterpreted claims. Perhaps the ecosystem war is just so close right now between Android and iOS that we’re not going to get clear, consistent answers for a while yet. But as long as everybody is making money in the mean time, who cares? :)