Even as Android gains share, CTRs fall. Meanwhile iOS has seen steadily rising response rates.
New stats from Jumptap suggest that poorly designed interfaces on Android devices may be hurting ad performance.
Jumptap's Mobile STAT report for January 2012 found that Android surpassed the Apple iOS in number of users. Android's share of mobile users grew 21 percent year over year, from 38 percent in December 2010 to 59 percent in December 2011, while iOS dropped 7 percent for the same period, from 29 percent in December 2010 to 22 percent in December 2011. The Jumptap targeted mobile ad network reaches 95 million mobile users in the United States and 142 million mobile users worldwide.
Even though Android surpassed the iOS in terms of share, Apple devices' traffic on Jumptap's network nevertheless tripled. Android's more than quadrupled.
For marketers, the size of the addressable market is only part of the story. Android's share may be increasing, but its users' response to ads is dropping. According to Jumptap, the latest Android 3.x has a .59 percent CTR, compared to iOS 5 with approximately .9 percent.
Throughout 2011, CTRs on Apple devices steadily climbed with each operating system update. Devices running iOS 3 averaged CTRs of .61 percent; iOS 4 garnered CTRs of .74 percent; and iOS 5 devices saw CTRs of .91 percent.
The Android 1.x operating system saw an average of.75 CTRs on its devices; Android 2.x CTRs dropped to .69 percent; and Android 3.x CTRs fell to .59 percent.
Jumptap CMO Paran Johar puts this down to the tight control Apple keeps over its iPhone, versus the proliferation of handset and device makers building diverse user interfaces on Android.
"With every new iPhone release, he says, Apple's designers "seem to be optimizing the user experience. It's no secret that they are obsessed with design and usability. Their obsession with functionality and the user interface is paying off."
On the other hand, according to Johar, "Because Android is a decentralized ecosystem, with so many manufacturers licensing the platform, they don't control exactly how Android is deployed. Handset mf can customize it. As more and more handset manufacturers license it, it's not as controlled."
Johar notes that Google, disseminator of Android, recently bought handset manufacturer Motorola Mobility. He says, "I assume that will be part of their strategy -- to control and optimize the complete experience for that consumer base."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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