You might think the iPhone has conquered the mobile universe, certainly in the US. Or at least, that’s what the bulk of articles published in 2009 seem to indicate. While the iPhone has heavily influenced mobile in the states and abroad, the numbers overstate the scenario dramatically. As a result, some amazing shifts haven’t gotten much notice.
Other articles cite AdMob’s data to suggest that 50 percent of mobile web browsing comes from the iPhone and iPod Touch, at least for smartphones. The problem here is that AdMob’s data represents ad impressions, and includes impressions from applications. So yes, the iPhone and iPod Touch get served 50 percent of AdMob’s ad impressions for smartphones in the US, and 29 percent of the ad impressions for all of US mobile. But how much of that is from applications, and how much from Web traffic?
The point is, after calculations, it turns out that an estimated 55 percent of AdMob’s requests for Apple devices are from applications. This number should still be highly suspect, due to the very small percent of total Web traffic Android representedÂ small errors there could have greatly skewed the results.Â However, this number is fairly close to the 2.5 times increase in ad impressions Android saw between Jan 2009 and March of 2009 after the application ad network was released (assuming all of that growth was from in-app ads, those would account for 60% of March’s Android impressions). Also, AdMob confirmed that at least half of the iPhone/iPod Touch impressions were served to apps, but couldn’t go into more detail.
What does this mean? Well, assuming the 55 percent is true, it means that in Jan 2009, the iPhone and iPod Touch accounted for 15.6% of the total US mobile Web traffic (according to the AdMob Jan 2009 data, after recalculating to ignore apps).Â But more importantly, it indicates that on devices that have application marketplaces and high quality apps, there is as much an opportunity for mobile advertising as there exists on the Web. As this becomes the standard practice for smartphones, we’ll see increases in ad impressions from both full HTML rendered browsers as well as additional growth of equal or greater volume from in-app ads. As a pure guess-timate, this suggests a potential fourfold increase in RIM and Windows Mobile display advertising volume over the next two years.