back to article Android passes iPhone in mobile ad race

Android is firmly crushing Apple's iOS in the smartphone ad wars, according to a report released Thursday by mobile advertising firm Millennial Media. The report, based on what Millennial Media identifies as "carrier, device and campaign data collected over billions of monthly ad requests," says that Android devices accounted …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Andy Hards
    Thumb Down

    surely though

    this is all if you belive the US is the only place that matters, no?

  2. Jonathan White

    Oh good grief

    So of the top three devices, two of them are iOS and none of them are Android, yet Android is 'firmly crushing' iOS? Have you ever thought of taking up politics?

    1. aldude

      Misleading numbers

      Don't forget that they're lumping all the iPhones and iTouches into two respective groups - so the "iPhone" is really the iPhone 1G, 3G, 3GS and 4G all together, which isn't really a good basis for comparing the numbers with all the separate Android devices.

    2. nsld
      Paris Hilton

      Its about the OS not the hardware

      Your confusing the hardware choice with the OS used.

      If you add up the OS figures you can clearly see that the Android OS is clearly more heavily used than the Apple OS.

      Remember, an iPhone is a device, but Android is an OS.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        No, the figures show there's more advertising on Android phones than on iPhones (which is to be expected because Google make money from advertising, not selling hardware like Apple). It doesn't say anything about which OS is more heavily used.

        1. nsld

          off to the jobsian re education camp with you

          Apple do indeed have an advertising platform and they do sell ads, I think that Jobs bloke announced it all last year.

          I wonder if the graph had just shown the OS rather than each phone type what the cultist would have said?

    3. g e

      Basic maths

      You'll be needing to add all of those Android handsets together then, won't you, to compare like for like...

      Apple-ists always seem to go defensive first, maths second, topic third - it's not even a 'device' based statistic, it's OS, primarily.

    4. DrXym Silver badge

      Have you ever thought of simple maths?

      Each android device might enjoy a smaller % but combined their marketshare and ad impressions surpass iOS phones combined. Understand now?

    5. Heff

      Reading is hard, apparently.

      apart from your terrible grasp of the difference between a handset and an OS, do you not think its somewhat suspect that the Motorola Droid 1 and Droid 2 are listed seperately, whilst all Iphones are under the same umbrella?

      basically, android has replaced the much abused and neglected Symbian OS as the handset juice-du-jour, about bloody time.

      /coat. mines the one with the operating syste- shit, I mean handset. handset in the pocket.

  3. M man

    lies, damned lies and...

    A survey in pointless

    heres one for the Droidtards

    1)if they are prepeared to split the android phones by make and model how about the iphones.?

    and one for the FanBois

    1)the number of free (ad supported) apps are about 20% higher on the android market then the apple store.


  4. Anonymous Coward

    Users: if you want to avoid mobile ads

    Then the lesson here is don't go for Android.

    1. ThomH Silver badge


      ... Apple have their own advertising network in iAds, which is trivially easy to implement in an application and for which most developers will already have suitable payment details set up. Is anybody willing to guess that Apple are supplying any statistics whatsoever for surveys like this?

      Ad supported apps may be a larger proportion of the Android Marketplace, but are there really more of them in absolute terms?

      I have no doubt Android devices are ahead in the US given that they're cheaper and more widely available (re: carrier exclusivity), I'd just like to know more about how the numbers were collected and can think of factors that could skew them either way.

      1. Michael C


        Yes, not only is this a marketshare in ads served, not in devices sold, it is marketshare only of ads serverd through marketing firms, and does not include iAds in the total.

        A few things can be gleamed here.

        1: since there are more iOS phones in use total (let alone total iOS devices) than android phones, (though Android did recently sell more in a single quarter, the iOS base was larger to start with and still has a larger total install base, and with the VZW launch this week is likely to stay that way a while longer) yet the ads served to android users exceed that of iOS, that means each Android user is on average served significantly more ads than iOS user (excluding iAds). Most would view this as a reason not to buy android, but they're promoting it as a plus?

        2: its the ad company itself promoting these numbers. Clearly, they want more pennies per ad then they are currently getting from Android. Never forget to consider the source

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      RE: Anonymous Coward

      And if you want to be ripped off and lied to then go for Apple.

      1. Number6


        I knew there was a reason why I've still got a Symbian phone. Works really well for what I want to do, too.

    3. horse of a different colour

      @Users: if you want to avoid mobile ads

      Logical conclusion: go for WinMo7?

    4. The Original Steve

      @ "Users: if you want to avoid mobile ads"


      My HTC Desire running MoDoCo R8 Custom Rom doesn't see a single Ad.

      Although that's because I choose to run AdBlock on my device.

      How about yours?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh good grief!

        The Original Steve; "My XYZ that I custom built is 1337!" Surely that's /MoDaCo/? It's a fairly common newb mistake. Smug people always look foolish. You just look nerdy /and/ foolish. No one cares about your phone

        I'd argue that blocking ad's is tantamount to piracy if you are using legitimately free apps or sites.

        Tigra07; Oh do behave, what has that rhetoric got to do with anything! The OP didn't express a preference. He just stated he bleeding obvious; that based on this study, if you want fewer ad's don't use Android based handsets, which is all that /can/ be extrapolated from this data. The level jingoism for your preferred device is just sad, in fact it'd be funny if it wasn't so pathetic. IT'S A PHONE! Get over it...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Mobile Ads, the bane of my life when it comes to Angry Birds..... big screen Android with annoying ads, or small screen iphone with no ads for a mere 59p.

    1. jbk
      Thumb Up

      But, but, but...

      It might seem a bit of a palaver, bit if you root your phone, install Droidwall and block Angry Birds from accessing the internet then you don't get the ads. So you get the app for free, adless! An awesome save of 59p and you get to play it on a decent sized screen.

      1. A. Nervosa

        But, but but...

        It might seem a bit of a palaver, but if you jailbreak your iPhone, install Angry Birds from Installous then you don't get the ads. So you get the app for free, adless, without all the tedious mucking about with firewall rules. An awesome save of 59p for those that are genuinely THAT f**king tight.

        1. jbk

          Learn to recognise sarcasm!

          The "awesome save" comment was sarcasm. (sigh)

          And whichever way you slice it you still have a crappy little screen to play it on the iphone. The serious part of my comment was simply to advise how to play it adless, on a big screen Android. Droidwall config takes seconds.

          1. ThomH Silver badge


            I think the iPhone screen is above the Android average. Possibly you've underestimated the penetration of Android into the low end of the market, skewing the results away from the flagship Droids, Desires and other really decent handsets? Android is about choice and not everybody prioritises screen size.

            Anyway, if screen size is really the most important then probably some sort of argument about tablets is more appropriate?

            1. jbk
              Thumb Up

              Good point...

              You make a valid point and I agree. However I was referring to the OP's dilemma of "big screen Android" or "small screen iphone" so that's obviously what he/she has.

    2. Ian Yates


      I've heard it's ad supported... but I've never seen a single one...

      I was in the beta and then got the full version and seasons after that, so don't know if there's a relation there.

      I can't even see where the adverts would be...

  6. Mountford D

    Value for money?

    Notwithstanding the comments that the comparisons may not be like-for-like, the fact is that the iPhone is about £500 and an Android phone can be under £100.

    An Android phone does everything it needs to out-of-the-box, usually heavily customised by the network operator and pretty robust while the more technically minded will find a plethora of tweaks and hacks, including open source code to play with.

    With an Android, use it as a phone, internet device, palmtop, ebook reader, game machine, portable computer or an open source programmer's hacking device - which inevitably leads to uncountable applications for free. Great for everyone but not so good for the money men. My heart bleeds...

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Cheap android phones

      I agree it's great that there are cheap smart phones. One word of warning is that the cheaper phones tend to be resistive, have low res screens and don't have the screen real estate to show full keyboards. So you get a crappy numeric predictive text style entry. Not a problem for messages, a huge pain in the butt for urls and so on.

      Still, in most regards you get exactly the same OS as the better phones and pretty much the same functionality too. I think it's amazing how cheap smart phones have become thanks to android. A few years ago I would pay more for a candy bar phone such as a Nokia 6120 than I some of these smart phones cost.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    "The iPhone, however, remains the number-one ad platform"

    Yeah, I've got to take issue with this.

    That's 4 versions of the iPhone lumped together, with the iPad separate. That is, unless I've missed something, the whole iOS platform.

    Their total market share is in the region of 18%.

    Android's share is, by my count, 22.69% (plus the other bits not on that chart).

    So Android has pulled quite convincingly ahead of iOS.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Not quite right...

      Per the pie chart in the article, of smartphones there's a 32% market share for iOS and 46% for Android. Smartphones are 60% of the total, so that's 19.2% to iOS, 27.6% for Android. I think your Android answer suffers from being a summation only across the top 30; you have to assume a whole bunch of other handsets are Android powered, which I guess cuts to the issue of the iPhones being lumped together.

      1. Michael C

        NOT marketshare

        please stop. Reading comprehension FAIL. This is ADSHARE, not marketshare. nothing in this article has any intent of clarifying sales estimates per platform, or number of devices in use, it is simply a count of the number of ads servers to users.

    2. Michael C

      wait a sec fandroid...

      this is NOT market-share, its ad-share. No one is measuring number of devices in hands here, or even devices sold in a period, just the total number of ADS served to devices in hands in that period (by this firm and its partners),broken down by OS type.

      To marketers, device model doesn't matter, only that the in-app ad was displayed. they break out the tablets and iPods because they're not always connected, and many ads that might be displayed on those platforms are not. Very few PC apps have in-app ads aside from ones required to be used online, and 99% of PC ads are displayed on-line, but many, many android and iOS apps can be used off-line, skewing the results on those platforms, so they were excluded to their own category rightly so. They break out OS because some apps run on one and not the other, or different ad server services are required to support feeding the ads (and they charge more or less by platform and popularity, and exposure). I do not know why they broke out models unless there is some correlation to vendor or device capability to display certain ads (or app compatibility that includes the adds)

      Last quarter data, Q3, (ending in oct, we don't have q4 data yet) Android did outsell iOS in the USA. However, total install base is still higher for iOS by a good margin. It will take 3-4 more concurrent quarters of outselling iOS to pass it in total user-base based on q3 sales. however, since iOS is no longer exclusive to AT&T, Android's ability to maintain market sales in Q1 2011 is highly unlikely. (we don't know q4s numbers yet). VZW alone intends to sell more than 10m iOS phones alone (not including pads) in 2011, that's more than the number of android smartphones they activated in 2010. they only predict 25m total VZW smartphones in 2011, so Apple is expected to be about equal share to Android, with RIM and WP7 splitting up the remaining 5m units.

      T-Mobile should also have an iPhone announcement soon (June at the latest, they might be waiting for LTE), and Sprint is even rumored to be getting one. The iPhone 5 should be LTE on all carriers but VZW and Sprint. (CDMA/LTE is not really viable, as shown by the limited announcement of LTE devices for Verizon vs 20 for AT&T and others, and numerous complaints about what battery life will be and device form factor, having to support dual chipsets and 5 radios vs the GSM compatible LTE by itself. Tim Cook admitted an LTE Verizon iPhone would require significant architectural and form factor redesign Apple is not committed to.

  8. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Down


    Fewer ads is better for the user surely?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      less ads = better.

      But that matters little when you're a droid evangelist. It's simply another way to rationalise how brilliant 'your' platform is.

      Since I'm an old fuddy, I'm still looking for a smartphone. The first one to *guarantee* no ads *forever* (if you pay for the full application), gets my cash. Apple, Google, microsoft....I don't give a shit personally.

      1. M Gale

        Paid app = no ads

        I'm pretty sure that's the case on any OS, including Android. At least, it seems to be a trend in the Market to offer a title as Foobar (free), and Foober (no ads). The only puzzle is why Rovio haven't yet. It'd probably improve performance on a lot of devices too, as whatever they're using for supplying ads seems to cause awful problems on the cheaper toyphones when trying to slide a banner in from the edge. Still, at least they only want "Internet Access", and not phone identity, location and a load of other permissions just to fling birds at pigs.

        Written on my Commtiva N700, which is all a bit Dom Joly.

  9. JaitcH

    Why the surprise? Android ...

    outsold the opposition in the last quarter.

    Now what magic is Jobs going to try next? Unlocking the garden?

    1. Ivan Headache

      I hate responding to JaitcH but

      If Android outsold the opposition in the last quarter how come that almost 80% of the phones I saw on my train journeys today were iphones? The remaining phones were plain ordinary phones and Blackberries There was only 1 phone out of about 30 that 'could' have been an android.

      I have now made a point of checking phones that i see on the train and on the tube and surprise surprise JaitcH, the majority are iphones - and the majority of those iPhones are iphone 4. At one station 4 people got on and three of them had phones in their hand. All of them iPhones.

      I went into a newsagent to buy some chocolate during this afternoon - the assistant was playing a football game - on an iphone4.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        80 percent of what ?

        "If Android outsold the opposition in the last quarter how come that almost 80% of the phones I saw on my train journeys today were iphones? "

        And what percentage of people had their phones on display ?.

        Seems common sense is no longer common when it comes to some Apple fans. They just cant see the wood for the Apple trees.

        Your observation indicates that iPhone is a posers toy - look I can afford to pay 600 quid for a phone that cannot make decent phone calls and needs a rubber band for a decent grip.

        On a serious note, the more competition the better for all of us, I hope iOS and Android plus symbian, win 7, RIM OS etc continue to slug it out as its good for us all despite our preference.

        1. Ivan Headache

          @ 80% of what?

          I was expecting a comment like that and I have an answer.

          On a typical train jouney on the London Overground, lots of people are actually using their phones. If they are not using them they are very often holding them in their hand. This is ANY phone. Sometimes I can't see a phone but the person is wearing the white earphones with the microphone which indicates they are using an iPhone but don't want to show it.

          On my journeys today I will actually count the people without phones (or white earphones) on display.

          As for your poser comment. My iPhone 4 is the 32GB model, it cost me less than £300 and costs me less per month to run than my crappy old Nokia. It's also more reliable than my Nokia ever was.

          1. A. Nervosa


            You're an idiot... and apparently you're still living in 2007, arguably the only real time that your average tosser may have conceivably had their iPhone out simply to show it off.

            As Ivan said, I barely see any of these mysterious Android handsets everyone is going on about. The phones I do see are iPhones and I see them because people are actually using them for something. Maybe people do have Android phones but all observations suggest people are doing little more with them than using them like a regular candy bar Nokia.

            And if it's not an iPhone, it's a Blackberry.

          2. M man

            job r own all ur hedfonz

            yeah cos it illigal to use white phones on anythig else except an iphone...infact THOSE people are the saddest of the lot.

            they WANT an iphone but cant afford one.

            mocked by the the droidtard, mocked by the fanbois.....sad!

    2. Michael C

      please, troll, go home

      You not only are clearly a troll and fandroid, you also displayed complete lack of understanding what this article was about.

      this has NOTHING to do with sales totals or install base, it is the number of ads served to people with that platform.

      Congratulations, your fewer circulating Android devices served you more than double the number of ads iOS devices served their users. Great stat to run up a flag for...

  10. Drefsab


    I wonder what the real figure is because on my htc phone I have a hosts file that blocks ad's, works really well, and as its a custom rom loads of people running the same rom have the same thing.

    The other thing it wont show is people running android on their iphone :)

  11. Mark .

    Why are Ipad/Ipod included, and not other non-phone devices like netbooks?

    Another bias towards Apple is that the Ipad is included in the list - but if that's counted as "mobile", where are the netbooks? Given that netbooks vastly a lot more than tablets, there should be a significant entry for Windows here, surely?

    It's very misleading to try to prop up the Iphone's count by including the Ipad - not to mention the Ipod, which isn't a phone either, whilst not including other non-phone mobile devices.

    I'd also like to know who decides what counts as a "feature phone" OS, and what's a "smart phone" OS. Can anyone give me a non-arbitrary definition of "smart phone" that includes the original Iphone (which couldn't even multitask and lacked lots of features common in feature phones, like 3G, video, copy/paste), but not most feature phones?

    And as someone points out above, this is for the US only. Worldwide, Symbian has consistently dominated as the market leader.

    "Keep in mind that these aren't pure market-share numbers"

    But even for the US, what about RIM? I believe they have only very recently fallen in sales, but for years were consistently number 1. Yet they're only 16% here! So either everyone's thrown away their old phones in a few months (highly unlikely), or these stats are useless in determining the installed userbase market share.

    1. Michael C


      the real figure is real ads served. If you blocked it, it didn't get served.

      That actually means the average number of ads servered to android users who don't know how to jailbreak and install custom ROMS to block ads is actually even higher per-device.

    2. Michael C


      this is a metric of in-app ad delivery, not web based ads.

      PCs don't use in-app ads. They use ads in browsers. RIM also has few if any ad-supported apps, and probably doesn't measure more than 1%, so it was excluded.

      The reason tablets and pods were broken out is they are used online and offline, and when offline ads are not served, so they are a statistical anomaly that should be accounted for separately.

      This is a press release so this marketing company can start charging more per android served ad, nothing more.

  12. JimCosser

    Odd bod

    I don't get the comments about iOS vs Android its obvious that Android OS is going to be more widely used its across multiple hardware vendors.

    Apple iOS is restricted to Apple devices that's their choice they aren't trying to be the most widely used OS otherwise they would go the same route as Google. Its about control for Apple quality over quantity.

    The most important part of the equation is the step Apple take to register your credit card details, this one step means that their users are much easier to take money from therefore more profitable to advertise to.

  13. IR

    Lumped in

    So it is okay to lump all versions of the iPhone together, but the Motoroal Droid and Droid 2 are separate? The HTC Droid Eris and Incredible are separate? Some of the Blackberries should probably be combined too.

    Basing anything on ads is going to allow for a wide range of interpretation since higher ad numbers could be due to:

    *More apps have ads

    *Certain platforms may have more developers who have an ad-supported free version

    *Users of a certain platform are more likely to use ad-supoorted apps rather than buy the full version

    *Most popular apps have ads

    *Apps with ads are used more by particular devices

    Easy to use Angry Birds with no ads. Just turn off your wifi and data connection. No rooting or special apps needed, just means that your other background apps won't be able to grab your email/weather/rss/etc until you turn them back on.

    1. Michael C

      its right

      The breakdown of Android seems to be representative (at least generally) by highest supported version, or phone capability. Marketing people looking to sell a high CPU game ad supported need to know the percentage of phones that ca run it, and thus the likely number of ads shown. very, very few iOS apps don't run on the 3G in at least some capacity (and they're are not any ad supported ones i can think of at all).

      You are right though, other than someone looking to place ads on a platform, this is not very relevant. Clearly, Android users see on average more ads per user than iOS users do, likely do to most of the reasons you listed. Ad companies will likely start paying more for Android placement soon, and ads might even get more frequent as well given higher revunue and thus more incentive, but that will come to a grinding halt as more people seek to block ads using tools due to the inundation by them.

      turn off wifi and data to avoid ads? Great, might as well just carry a generic phone then, and a game device. Taking a smartphone offline is simply dumb. its DESIGNED to be 24x7 connected. If you're disconnecting it, you're doing it wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Michael C

        Dude, take a break already! You an Apple user by any chance?

  14. Majid

    yes! more ads..

    So phone A is beating phone B because it has more ads?

    Thats what everybody wants right? Ads are cool adds are fun!! Maybe we should have a 24/7 radio ad channel.

    The world starts to look more like the world from Demolition man each day. Schwarzenegger already made it to govenor, guess president is just a step up.

    Damn I hate adds...

    You are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.

    Ok I will shut up now..

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Android surpasses iOS!

    If these statistics were backwards where iPhone was the leader in mobile Ads, iPhone fans wouldn't be making any excuses. But because it's Android, it's harder to accept the facts. Android clearly surpassed iOS.

    The reason why iPhone and iPod have a higher percent from a handset perspective, it's because that's all they have been selling for the past many years running iOS. Meanwhile, Android runs on "multiple" devices and have been around for just a few years. Apple can choose to allow HTC, Motorola, Samsung, etc. to use iOS, but Apple chooses not to. So if you consider these facts, you'll see that Android will only continue it's trend in surpassing iOS (iPhone). And in the next several years, Samsung or HTC could be in Apple's spot holding 12%.

    Apple has done everything to try to stop the Android army but nothing helps. Apple is realizing that consumers really do want "choice", lower prices, and more freedom. That's where people will flock to, that's where they are willing to pull out their wallets, and that's the Android strategy.

    So just accept the new reality...Android has crushed iOS.

  16. Zack Mollusc


    Why all the fuss about droid v iphonepad? Fanbois are hardly likely to buy a droid phone when they have £30,000 of other apple kit ( 2 devices, snark snark ) and apple-sceptic droidtards like me won't suddenly get an iphone, it is the ordinary herberts who will buy 'what all their mates have' .

    If all the ordinary herberts abandon the iphone, it will be exclusive and cool again, and apple can maintain profits by jacking up the price per unit.

  17. Adam T


    Google OS sees more adverts than any other.

    Surprised why?

  18. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

    By this logic...

    ...far more people watch ITV than the BBC.

    The data shows that fewer ads were served to applications running on iPhone than on Android within the United States of America. But it's not particularly enlightening. What about other markets? What about web-hosted ads?

    iOS applications worth paying for are mainly paid for on a purchase model; Android Apps more likely to be paid for on an ad-supported model -- in many places that's still the only available option for devs to be remunerated. So, how about a relevant question: Did the ad and purchase revenues earned by developers on Android match the ad and purchase revenues earned by developers on iOS? How about the revenues earned by Apple and Google?

    But as this is the intenet, I'll get the contractually-obligated "Wow. Android in bigger number than Apple - Google FTW." out of the way now.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019