Apple’s iOS platform has been crowned as the most lucrative among mobile platforms, besting Android and others, according to a new report from Opera Software.
According to the first edition of the State of Mobile Advertising report from the company which makes the Opera web browser, the iOS platform delivered more than the Android platform in the key metric called eCPM.
ECPM is the acronym for effective cost per mille which measures the revenue an ad publisher earns per thousand ad impressions.
Apple’s iOS platform has an eCPM of $2.49, the Opera Software report says. The Apple platform also took nearly half of all mobile traffic (46.53%) in Opera’s ad network. Furthermore, iOS accounted for 61.41 percent of revenue.
Compare this to Android which had 24.43percent of traffic, 14.26percent of revenue and an eCPM of $2.10.
The eCPM metric is used to measure how effective a marketing campaign is by taking into account how much an advertiser pays to run an ad and what they pay for click-throughs. Other factors are also considered in this like how desired the traffic generated by a publisher is.
The higher the eCPM, the better it is for the publisher. In this case Apple, Google and other owners of mobile platforms benefit as this measures how much they are paid per thousand impressions of ads they serve.
Furthermore, advertisers generally also look more highly on publishers who have high eCPMs as this means that the traffic generated by their platform is generally more desirable (i.e. they stand to get more revenue from running a campaign on this publisher’s platform).
The Opera Software State of Mobile Advertising report further broke down the iOS platform between the Apple iPhone and iPad devices. For the iPhone, it took 29.88percent of traffic, 43.54percent of revenue and had an eCPM of $2.85.
The iPad, on the other hand, had 6.86percent of traffic, 14.26percent of revenue but made up for those lower numbers with an eCPM of $3.96, the highest across the gamut of devices and platforms on the study.
Android was not broken down into individual devices and so were other platforms included in the study.
Third on this ranking is a combined “J2ME / Other” platform which accounted for 21.27percent of traffic on the Opera ad network, 9.86percent of revenue and an eCPM of $1.01.
Next is the BlackBerry OS referred to by the report as “RIM OS” which had 6.32percent of traffic, 1.79percent of revenue and an eCPM of $0.64.
Trailing behind are the Nokia-abandoned Symbian platform (1.37% traffic, 0.37% revenue, $0.59 eCPM) and the Microsoft-developed Windows Phone platform (0.08% traffic, 0.01% revenue, $0.20 eCPM).
According to Opera, the result of the report “indicates that devices with better usability (i.e., larger screen size, touchscreen) and those with features that allow more interaction between the advertisement and the device’s functionality (e.g., click to call, expand, play video) have better monetization potential than less capable and less user-friendly devices.”
“Further illustrating this point is the high eCPM achieved by iPad. Delivering an average eCPM of $3.96 across the Opera mobile ad platform, iPad epitomizes the user-friendly device with large, touchscreen interactivity, as well as other features that enhance the user experience,” Opera explained.
To illustrate why a high eCPM is desired by advertisers and publishers alike, let’s look at what Opera said about the iPad.
“The iPad is also achieving signicant user adoption in user groups that are highly desirable to advertisers. For example, 40% of physicians own or plan to own an iPad or tablet by the end of 2012, according to Nielsen projections,” it said.
Meanwhile, the firm also explained that not being user-friendly is not the problem with Windows Phone which achieved dismal performance in the report. There aren’t just that many Windows Phone users.
Opera also made it a point to stress in its report that rich media provides for better engagement with advertisements.
According to the browser maker and ad network owner, rich media has shown to always drive better customer engagement regardless of what OS the mobile device an individual is using to view ads.
“For instance, according to our Rich Media Index, 66% of users that click through to a video will complete that interaction, with an average dwell time of 52 seconds. Photo-taking capabilities warrant an even higher dwell time (1 min 25 secs), and about half of consumers will continue to interact with the ad post-click,” Opera said.
Demonstrated in the graphic below, maybe this is why Facebook wants more media on its website as users had low interaction rate and linger time on Facebook.
Meanwhile, advertisers have noticed this trend about rich media getting more interaction with ad viewers. According to Opera in its report, “Advertisers are sitting up and taking note of the return on investment of rich media in mobile. From January to June 2012, we saw the number of standard and expandable banner executions diminish, while HTML5 rich media and video ad executions increased.”
In fact, rich media now has the biggest share in ad execution when it was just third six months ago behind traditional ads and expandable banner ads.
Another interesting bit of information from the study is that the Business and Finance category is the biggest generator of revenue per impression amongst all publisher categories. Business and Finance generated more than double the profit generated from the News and Information category which came in next to it.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and Canada are the biggest markets for mobile ads with 73 percent of all traffic on Opera’s ad network coming from the region. As for eCPM, the U.S. led with $1.98 followed by the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.) with $1.94. The global average eCPM is $1.90.
The new Opera State of Mobile Advertising report was based on data from the Opera ad network. Opera company claims that the insights are from data gathered during the second quarter of 2012 from its ad network which has more than 9,000 customers, over 35 billion ad impressions per month and which generated over $240 million in revenue for publishers in 2011.
Image 2 from LJR.MIKE on Flickr (CC). All other images from Opera Software.