iPad Becomes Advertisers’ Best Friend

Advertisers favor showing up on iPads over any other device, and they’re willing to pay for it. Sky-high click through rates on iPad have helped it surpass the iPhone in popularity amongst advertisers despite competition making iPad placements the most pricey. The data from mobile ad platform MoPub’s Q4 2013 study of 90 billion ad views shows advertisers are betting on the biggest little screen.

Elain Szu, Director of Product Marketing for MoPub explains why the ad industry is warming up to the iPad. “Advertisers see the tablet and its [larger screen size] as nearly the same as the desktop.” Essentially, advertisers can easily translate their strategies to tablets. They don’t have to completely rethink their creative designs because the space they have isn’t all that different than on a laptop. Much smaller smartphone screens are much more different and require a new game plan.

Click Through Rates Mobile Ads Done

MoPub’s data shows how iPad is the darling advertisers. First and foremost, iPad ads seesthe highest CTR (click through rates). Over the holidays, the iPad saw a 1.7% CTR from December 1-15, and a 2.2% CTR from January 1-7. Meanwhile, the iPhone had just 1.2% CTR at the beginning of CTR moving up to only 1.5% at the start of the news year, and Android smartphones saw just 1.0% and 1.1% CTRs in those time periods.

The MoPub’s popularity index measures how many bids it sees per ad slot, and it shows advertisers are chasing those high iPad CTRs. Apple’s tablet was at the top of the pile for the first time in Q4 with a score of 5.3, up from 2.8 at the end of Q3, blowing past the iPhone which only increased to 5.0 from 3.5 in Q3.

The rush to win bids for limited iPad inventory due to its lower install base than smartphones has driven up the cost of ads there, though that hasn’t deterred advertisers. iPad eCPMs (effective cost per thousand impressions) increased 48% over Q4 from $0.94 to $1.40. For comparison, iPhone eCPMs went from $0.62 to $1.04 in that time period, followed by Android tablet eCPMs increasing from $0.59 to $0.99 over the holidays. Android smartphones are in last place, starting at a lowly $0.52 eCPM and growing to $0.80 by the start of January. Obviously these were impacted by the holidays, but their relative sizes shows the strength of the iPad.

MoPub eCPM Graph

Apple is winning the overall mobile OS popularity contest amongst both advertisers and users. iOS has both higher click through rates and eCPMs than Android overall.

MoPub CEO Jim Payne tells me that’s because Android users don’t have as high of a life-time value to advertisers who capture them. Payne tells me “It’s because the Android user is much less monetizable in terms of virtual goods, so the advertisers aren’t willing to pay nearly as much for them.”

As for my take on why advertisers want to move into iPad real-estate? I think it comes down to the tablet behavior pattern. While we surely use our phones while laying in bed or stuck in transit, most of the time we’re bustling through the real world trying to get information to accomplish the task at hand. We’re focused, and less likely to take a detour to click on an ad.

While using an iPad, we’re more often relaxed, at rest, or in a mood to discover something. That means we’re more likely to chase an appealing discount, new product, or fun game down the ad click rabbit hole. Advertisers want to court us when we’re receptive to their advances. When we pick up the iPad, we let down our guard.