These mobile ads are so engaging, we can't take our eyes off of them. (Image credit: Girls reading on smartphone / Shutterstock)

These mobile ads are so engaging, we can’t take our eyes off of them. (Image credit: Girls reading on smartphone / Shutterstock)

The mobile industry is an interesting ecosystem, in that there are various mechanisms and trends at work. On one hand, you have volume and scale, which Android currently leads, having the biggest share of the market today. However, there are also other factors that come to play, such as engagement, monetization and revenue.

We have discussed engagement before, and have previously encountered the so-called Android engagement paradox. While Android is the leading platform in numbers, its main competitor, iOS, still leads in other metrics, including engagement and revenue. This is further validated by Opera’s latest State of Mobile Advertising report, in which iOS came out on top, in terms of both traffic and revenue share.

Opera State of Mobile Advertising Q1 2013

To illustrate, during the first quarter of 2013, Android got a traffic share of 31.26%, with a revenue share of 26.72%. Meanwhile, iOS got 44.53% traffic share and received 49.23% of the revenue.

A few other notable observations:

  • Opera notes that Android tablets are growing to a “small but noticeable share of the market.”
  • Android tablet traffic share is at 1.04%, with revenues at 0.49%. This is a far cry from the iPad’s 6.54% traffic share and 12.60% revenue.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S3 is dominant among Android smartphones, with 11% of Android traffic.
  • Music, video and media are the top sources of impressions and revenue.
  • Targeted campaigns perform better in terms of engagement and revenue.

The study was done across Opera’s advertising platforms, which includes AdMarvel, Mobile Theory, 4th Screen Advertising and Opera Mediaworks Performance, which serve more than 50 billion ad impressions per month through 12,000 mobile websites and applications.

Again, this does not mean that Android is worse off than iOS, per se. Opera’s study simply indicates that iOS users are more likely to engage in visual ads, which in return lets publishers earn more from ad revenue. Given this scenario, though, publishers are more likely to optimize for iOS, given the higher revenue potential.

J. Angelo Racoma
J. Angelo Racoma has written extensively about mobile, social media, enterprise apps and startups. Angelo develops business case studies for Microsoft enterprise platforms, and is also co-founder at WorkSmartr, a small outsourcing team that offers digital content and marketing services.