Report: Video Accounts For Half Of All Mobile Traffic; Android Biggest For Mobile Ads

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Mobile video now accounts for half of all mobile traffic; and on some networks, that number is as high as 69 percent — a testament to the rise of smartphones and tablets as the mobile devices of choice for consumers, and their growing interest in using these devices to do a lot more than just make phone calls.

The data, from quarterly report on mobile data usage out today from mobile analytics firm Bytemobile, also found that Android is generating more mobile ad volume than iOS devices, and that Google now accounted for 75 percent of ad-generated data across all platforms.

Bytemobile says it has collected this data from a cross-section of its mobile carrier customers. It focuses on usage of two main platforms, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

As many have already suspected, tablets are driving significantly more data traffic than smartphones. On Apple’s iOS platform, an iPad user generates three times as much traffic as someone using an iPhone; while on Android, the figure is twice as much when comparing Android tablets and handsets.

This is not too surprising: tablets’ bigger screens are that much more conducive to consuming video and other content than the smaller screen of a smartphone; and in the case of something like video, those tablets will require higher resolutions, which also translates to heavier data use.

Indeed, video, along with other streamed services, are proving, once again, to be bandwidth hogs. The most-used application on iOS, for example, is Safari, accounting for 61 percent of all transactions. But when it comes to what takes up the most data volume? Bytemobile says it’s the Media Player, with 47 percent of all volume:

The same goes for individual applications. Although users spend slightly more time per session on Facebook than they do YouTube — 9.06 versus 8.51 minutes, respectively — YouTube generates, on average, 40 megabytes per session, compared to 120 kilobytes for Facebook or 170kb for Twitter. Twitter’s average session usage is 4.57 minutes.

Bytemobile also took a look at where mobile advertising is sitting in the mix. As ad networks have also been demonstrating for the last several quarters, Android devices are edging out over Apple’s iPhone and iPad in terms of generating mobile advertising traffic.

Yes, part of that is because collectively there are more Android devices on networks than iPhones — Android now accounts for half of all smartphones worldwide, says Gartner.

But perhaps just as importantly, those Android devices appear to be generating more ad impressions and engagement — collectively called “transactions” by Bytemobile. On Android, some 9 percent of all data transactions were ad-related, while on iOS the proportion was 5 percent.

Why is that? It could be down to the fact that Android generally has fewer paid apps in the Market than Apple’s App Store, and those more popular free apps are pulling more ads down from networks when they get used.

But if you are reading this and starting to worry about how mobile ads are draining your monthly data allowances on your contracts, save your worries for the future: Bytemobile notes that ads accounted for only 2 percent of data volume on Android, and only 1 percent on iPhone.

As with online, Google dominates the mobile ad space with its owner of AdMob, AdSense and DoubleClick holdings. Together, these accounted for 75 percent of all ad data. But when it comes to the single-most consuming ad network, that dubious honor goes to Apple’s iAd: its video-rich ad units generate nearly 16 MB of data per transaction, while the lowest were AdMob’s display units, which generated less than 4MB.