Last year, I wrote an entry which looked at AdMob’s monthly Mobile Metrics report and concluded that smart phone platforms from Nokia, RIM and Windows Mobile had a higher share of ads served compared to that of Apple’s iPhone. I pointed out that this was not consistent with the browsing market share numbers reported by Net Applications. Well, iPhone has addressed that discrepancy to leave absolutely no doubt whatsover! Just take a look at the March 2009 report from AdMob (left). I have included the March 2008 report (right) as well for easy comparison.
The iPhone and iPod Touch together have a 22% share (more than the rest of the 18 platforms listed in the table) of the 7.65B ad requests made to AdMob – the distant third is the Motorola RAZR platform with a 2.7% share. Contrast this with March 2008 when the RAZR platform had a 5.6% share of ~2.86B ad requests. It is clear that the phenomenal success of Apple’s AppStore has a lot to do with the dominance of the Apple platforms. In fact, AdMob reports that applications have had a big impact on the growth of mobile data usage. According to AdMob, in March 2009, more than half of the total number of ad requests for the iPhone came from applications. It is clear that applications (especially the free variety) provide a tremendous opportunity to drive mobile advertising and will benefit ad networks such as AdMob.
AdMob, a mobile advertising marketplace releases what they call a Mobile Metrics Report every month. Since they serve ads for more than 5,000 mobile web sites around the world, they claim they are capable of storing and analyzing the data from every ad request, impression, and click. For every ad request, AdMob determines device capabilities using information available in the user’s mobile browser. They claim that over 5 million ad requests and impressions flow through their network every month. The reports reveal some interesting data regarding worldwide share of smartphone traffic. Contrary to popular opinion (and even here in this blog), the iPhone is nowhere close to holding the top spot in this list. Nokia’s Symbian OS takes that honor on a worldwide basis, while out here in the States, RIM’s BlackBerry browser takes the top spot. In fact, as the accompanying charts show, while Symbian’s (driven primarily by Nokia’s N-Series handsets) market share has been steadily growing from 44% to 64% on a worldwide basis in the past six months, iPhone’s share has been hovering around in the 4%-6% category. Not a bad number for a platform that has been in existence for hardly over a year, but a far cry from the market share numbers reported by Net Applications. In fact, even if you assume that Net Applications measure browsing statistics only in the United States, their numbers are not consistent with what is shown here – RIM, Windows Mobile and Palm handsets all have a higher share of Internet traffic to that of the iPhone.
Several surveys have revealed that iPhone users spend a lot of time surfing the Internet. Late last year, when Net Applications came out with its quarterly browser market share report, people immediately latched on to the fact that the iPhone, which at that time was in the market for a full 5 months, had a browser market share that was 33% greater than that of Windows Mobile devices. This was obviously an amazing statistic at that point in time – in under two quarters, Apple’s handheld platform had passed Microsoft’s over a decade-old mobile platform in terms of browser use. The amazement was further amplified when you consider that iPhone was selling in only one geography (AT&T) while over 20 million Windows Mobile platforms were in circulation. It’s not just just Windows Mobile that was getting killed by iPhone. S60/Symbian – the browser in Nokia’s N-Series platforms among others? About 1/10th.
Fast forward – I decided to go back and look at the Net Applications browser statistics to find out if iPhone users continued their incessant web-surfing behavior. I charted the browsing market share of both iPhone and Windows Mobile over six quarters. Clearly, iPhone is continuing its dizzying ascent, widening its lead significantly over Windows Mobile – the market share today stands at four times that of Windows Mobile. iPod has a 0.04% market share and is catching up with Windows Mobile as well.
At this rate, given iPhone 3G’s worldwide distribution, it is quite conceivable that iPhone/iPod will be the fourth largest computing platform in terms of browsing market share (behind only Windows XP, Windows Vista, MacIntel and Mac OS) by end of this year. It would have surpassed the browsing market share of Linux, Windows 2000 and Windows NT platforms. For a platform that has been in existence for less than two years and that too with limited distribution, that is an amazing feat. Check back to this entry for an update end of the year!