Apple Still The Easy Leader In Ad Revenue On Mobile For 2014, Despite Android Gains

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Apple led 2014 in ad revenue by a wide margin, according to a new study by Opera Mediaworks, despite Android reaching an all-time high in terms of ad impressions, and leading the overall market for the year on that score. Android gained at the expense of legacy platforms like BlackBerry and feature phones, however, meaning that while Android grew, Apple didn’t shrink, and iOS-based devices are still the clear leaders when it comes to lucrative rich-media and video-based ad campaigns.

Android closed out 2014 with 62.69 percent of mobile ad traffic, according to Opera, with iOS taking 27.18 percent. iOS managed to account for 51.67 percent of all revenue and monetization via mobile ads, however, compared to just 41.20 percent for Android, despite its considerable lead of overall impressions. Opera Mediaworks attributes this in part to the source of Android’s growth: iOS remained a top performer in developed and western markets, while Android grew mostly on the strength of adopters coming over from platforms serving more emerging markets.

Also of note: Apple’s iPad continues to command a significant percentage of revenue, accounting for nearly 13 percent of monetization while making up less than 5 percent of overall traffic. Even the iPod Touch still accounts for more revenue than BlackBerry and Windows Phone combined, and approaches the revenue share of Android-based tablets, which are at just under 1.5 percent.

Opera Mediaworks also found that the Games category showed strong growth during 2014 for both impressions served and share of revenue, and nearly knocked the Music, Video and Media category off its perch, where it has led the top three categories for the past three years.

Apple’s blockbuster past quarter for iPhone sales should bode well for its ability to continue to lead the pack in terms of mobile monetization, not least because the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus both offer larger displays that are more conducive to the kinds of high-revenue ad formats iOS users are already more susceptible to, including rich media and video spots.