iOS remains biggest ad money-spinner for publishers despite Android gains

Ads served to Android smartphones have for the first time taken over iPhones, but iOS is still bringing in the cash.

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Thanks to Apple's iPad, iOS still generates a lot more revenue for advertisers and app makers than Android, according to a new report.

Android phones shipments dwarf those of iPhones these days , and it's finally beginning to show, with ad impressions served to Android smartphones for the first time surpassing ads to iPhones, research out this week from Opera has found.

In its last report for Q2 2013, the platforms were neck and neck in terms of smartphone traffic with 30 percent share each. However in Q4 2013, Android accounted for 36 percent compared to Apple's 29 percent. 

Nonetheless, iPhones though remain the largest source of revenue for app developers and publishers, accounting for 40 percent of revenue in the fourth quarter compared to Android's 30 percent. (In the second quarter, iPhones accounted for 36.4 percent of ad revenue, while Android generated 27.76 percent.)   

Across both tablets and smartphones, Apple's iPad is keeping it ahead of Android in traffic and revenue terms, with the iPad accounting for 10.6 percent of all traffic and 12 percent of revenue in the last quarter of 2013. iOS devices in total accounted for 43.3 percent of all ads served during the quarter, generating 55.7 percent of all revenue for mobile devices. Android devices meanwhile accounted for 37.7 percent of all ads and 31 percent of revenue.  

"While Android continues to make impressive gains in its share of traffic and monetization for phones and tablets, iOS retains the overall lead across all mobile platforms for both total traffic and monetization," Opera said.

"Looking ahead, we expect to see Android's share of revenue continue to grow, but given how far ahead Apple is in the tablet space, we do not expect Android to take the lead for cross-platform monetization in 2014."

And while Windows phone shipments have now eclipsed BlackBerry in the US and Europe, BlackBerry OS devices were still behind 2.1 percent of ads served. However, it was still dwarfed by Apple's iPod Touch range, which accounted for 4.1 percent of traffic and 2.8 percent of revenue over the fourth quarter.

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