Adfonic: Android Tops iOS As Most Popular Platform On Global Ad Network; iPhone, iPad Still Top Devices

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Android is now most-used smartphone platform worldwide, and that swing is being reflected in other areas like mobile advertising. Today some numbers out from Adfonic indicate that in Q2, Android accounted for the majority of mobile ad impressions on its network worldwide, with 46 percent compared to iOS’s 34 percent of impressions. This is the first time Adfonic says it has recorded Android being more popular than iOS. In that, it joins other big ad networks like Millennial Media and InMobi, which both noted Google’s OS overtaking Apple’s earlier this year.

Adfonic’s Global AdMetrics Report is based on 4,000 rich-media campaigns run monthly for brands like Samsung, Warner Bros, eBay, McDonald’s, Groupon and Google, reaching 200 million mobile unique users monthly over 80 billion ad requests. The company notes that today’s Android popularity is a near-mirror switch from the quarter before, when iOS took 45 percent of traffic to Android’s 38 percent. The only region where Android has yet to dominate over iOS, Adfonic says, is South America, and overall iOS lost marketshare in every region. The U.S., on the other hand, has seen the most drastic flip:

In Q1 in the U.S., Android and iOS were nearly level, with just four percentage points separating Android’s 46 percent to iOS’s 42 percent. This last quarter, iOS dropped down to 30 percent while Android shot up to 63 percent. Given that the U.S. is leading the charge with smartphones, this could potentially be read as a bad sign for Apple in the months to come — although the launch of a new iPhone will likely change the balance once again.

And that’s because this is not just a story of platforms but of devices — and for Apple, it’s still winning massively where that is concerned. Adfonic notes that taken as individual devices, Apple’s are still proving to be the most popular — by quite a long shot.

The iPhone accounts for 26.5 percent of all impressions among all the smartphones on Adfonics’ network. Although that is a decline of eight percent on the quarter before, the runner-up device, also an iOS handset (the iPod Touch), is only at 5.2 percent (also a decline). Samsung and Blackberry round out the top five, and both actually grew their market shares, albeit from a small base.

The same story appears in tablets, where the iPad accounted for almost 54.8 percent of all traffic. Again it’s a decline, this time of 12 percent, but still comfortably ahead of number-two — in this case the Kindle Fire from Amazon with 6.6 percent of impressions and growing.

That could also be a testament to how well the Kindle Fire might perform in the long run: the device is still only available in the U.S., and yet it’s still ranking as the second-most-popular worldwide for ad impressions (and, hence, content usage) on Adfonic’s network.

Taken together, Android and iOS accounted for 80 percent of Adfonic’s global ad inventory — a pretty stark statement, once again, of how dominant these two are together at the expense of Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian and the rest. This is as much about attracting advertisers to buy ads on attractive devices as it is about consumer popularity. Paul Childs, CMO at Adfonic noted: “iOS and Android smartphones and tablets have the most compelling user interfaces, comprising touchscreens, geolocation features and attractive displays. They are fulfilling their tremendous advertising potential to show engaging ad formats, such as rich media.”

Adfonic’s extensive report (which you can read in full here) also covers a lot of detail on successful verticals, the difference in ad performance by gender and other metrics. One notable graphic that caught my eye was this one on impressions based on different verticals, which shows that music is currently having the biggest pull for advertisers, taking 39 percent of all ad spend on its network; technology ads were the second-highest at 28 percent. In terms of publisher channels, sites and apps in the entertainment and lifestyle categories are seeing increases in their ad requests, while games, social networking, and news/sport/information all saw declines.