In mobile device rankings, Samsung continues to pull ahead of the rest of the field as the leading mobile handset maker, and the leading smartphone maker specifically. But when it comes to mobile advertising - a key and growing area of monetising content on mobile - Apple continues to be the engagement champion. Mobile ad network Adfonic says that Apple in Q3 accounted for 37% of all mobile ad impressions on its network, with Samsung the second-most popular at 24%, and the rest trailing some ways behind.
It will be interesting to what happens in Q4: In its AdMetrics report, Adfonic notes that Apple increased its lead over Samsung by three percentage points without much impact from the iPhone 5, which only hit the market at the end of the period. So one way of charting iPhone 5 popularity will be to see what kind of an impact it has on Apple's ranking in the current Q4 quarter. But at the same time, Adfonic's CEO points out that Samsung, too, is rolling out new devices that may also raise its share:
“It is significant that, even though Samsung is making huge inroads in device ownership and gaining mobile advertising share, it is still losing ground to Apple. And these results don't take into account the impact of new Apple devices such as the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini and the new iPad, which will be felt during Q4,” he noted. “Meanwhile new Samsung products such as the Galaxy S3 Mini will also start to appear. It'll be very interesting to see how the Apple v Samsung rivalry plays out during Q4."
Apple and Samsung were the only two to see their shares of ad impressions increase compared to Q2 - yet another sign, if one was needed, at how these two have continued to become the two to beat in the market.
Number three on Adfonics' list, Nokia, had only an 8% share of impressions, and is in decline, although not as much as RIM, which declined by 4 percentage points to slip into fourth position. Indeed, looking just on ad impressions alone, you can see the argument for consolidation among some of the less strong handset makers.
When it comes to handsets, Apple continues to keep its leadership in impressions effectively based on one model, the iPhone; Samsung dominates with seven handsets in the top 10 slots. Ultimately, this points to iPhone users still being a magnet for advertisers, as well as for consumers when it comes to using devices for apps and mobile web services.
Adfonic adds that another reason for the strong performance. Advertisers actively select which devices to target their ads to on Adfonic's network, and their preference for Apple and Samsung could be because of the two have loaded more features into their devices that the advertisers themselves are adopting more in their campaigns, for example gyroscopes for more interactive, rich media ads.
When you look at the list, you can see that the top-10 devices still only account for half of all impressions. Considering that everything after the iPhone is in single digits, this points to how fragmented the market continues to be.
Tablets are significantly less so, for now. The top 10 models accounted for nearly 82% of all impressions on tablets on Adfonics' network. Here Apple has continued to maintain an even more dominant position, with 63% of all impressions, with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in second at almost 5% of impressions. Although the rest of the top 10 is far behind Apple, both in impressions and every other metric, at least here there is a bit more competition, with Amazon's Kindle Fire at number three, Asus' Eee Pad at seven, Acer's Iconia Tab A500 at eight, and even Sony's Tablet S rounding out the top 10.